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3 1148 00546 7220 












Copyright 1918 by The Macxnillan Company 

Copyright renewed 1946 by Aimee F. Chapman 

Printed in the United States of America 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced 
or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mech 
anical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informa 
tion storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing 
from the Publisher. 

Collier-Macmillan Canada, Ltd., Toronto, Ontario 

First Free Press Paperback Edition 1965 

Second printing July 1966 


THE present work is an attempt to give in one volume 
the main features of Spanish history from the standpoint of 
America. It should serve almost equally well for residents 
of both the English-speaking and the Spanish American coun 
tries, since the underlying idea has been that Americans 
generally are concerned with the growth of that Spanish 
civilization which was transmitted to the new world. One 
of the chief factors in American life today is that of the rela 
tions between Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic America. They 
are becoming increasingly important. The southern re 
publics themselves are forging ahead; on the other hand 
many of them are still dangerously weak, leaving possible 
openings for the not unwilling old world powers ; and some 
of the richest prospective markets of the globe are in those 
as yet scantily developed lands. The value of a better 
understanding between the peoples of the two Americas, 
both for the reasons just named and for many others, scarcely 
calls for argument. It is almost equally clear that one of the 
essentials to such an understanding is a comprehension of 
Spanish civilization, on which that of the Spanish American 
peoples so largely depends. That information this volume 
aims to provide. It confines itself to the story of the growth 
of Spanish civilization in Spain, but its ultimate transfer 
to the Americas has been constantly in the writer s mind 
in the choice of his material, as will appear from the frequent 
allusions in the text. An attempt is made to treat Spanish 
institutions not as static (which they never were) but in 
process of evolution, from period to period . The development 
of Spanish institutions in the colonies and the later independ 
ent states, it is hoped, will be the subject of another volume. 



Neither story has ever been presented according,^* 
present plan to the American public. 

Emphasis here has been placed on the growth of tli 
ization, or institutions, of Spain rather than on the 
live of political events. The latter appears primarily arte , 
on which to hang the former. The volume is topica^tjjL 
ranged, so that one may select those phases of develo, 
which interest him. Thus one may confine himself 
narrative, or to any one of the institutional topic^s; ^ 
political, religious, economic, or intellectual. Indeed 
division may be carried even further, so that one may . 
out institutions within institutions. As regards proporti 
the principal weight is given to the periods from 1252 to 
with over half of the volume devoted to the years 1479 
1808. The three centuries from the sixteenth to the nil 
teenth are singled out for emphasis, not only because th 
were the years of the transmission of Spanish civili? 
tion to the Americas, but also because the great body 
the Spanish institutions which affected the colonies did 
in the form they acquired at that time. To treat Spar 
gift to Spanish America as complete by the year 1492 is 
incorrect as to say that the English background of Unr 
States history is necessary only to the year 1497, when t>y^ , 
Cabot sailed along the North American coast, or certain* 
not later than 1607, when Jamestown was founded. ^ 
accord with the primary aim of this work the place of Sf$u * 
in general European history is given relatively little spftcc 
The recital of minor events and the introduction of the na$t 
of inconsequential or slightly important persons have 
avoided, except in some cases where an enumeration ha%& 
made for purposes of illustration or emphasis. For ^.4 
reasons, together with the fact that the whole account is 
pressed into a single volume, it is hoped that the boob ** 
serve as a class-room text as well as a useful compendium f 
the general reader. 

The writer has been fortunate in that there exists a m 
mental work in Spanish containing the type of mater- 
which he has wished to present. This is the Historia^ 
Espana y de la civilizacidn espanola, which has won a woi 


e reputation for its author, Rafael Altamira y Crevea. 1 

eed, the present writer makes little claim to originality, 

*e for the period down to 1808 he has relied almost wholly 

^ Altamira. Nevertheless, he has made, not a summary, 

rather a selection from the Historia (which is some five 

v .. ^s the length of this volume) of such materials as were 

*^ropriate to his point of view. The chapter on the reign 

JCharles III has been based largely on the writer s own 

*JfT "** ant of the diplomacy of that monarch, which lays special 

rihasis on the relation of Spain to the American Revolu- 

jjW. 2 For the chapter dealing with Spain in the nineteenth 

^ century the volumes of the Cambridge modern history have 

been used, together with those on modern Spain by Hume and 

tf Butler Clarke. The last chapter, dealing with present-day 

-^f Spain, is mainly the result of the writer s observations during 

vp a two years residence in that country, 1912 .to 1914. In 

- *the course of his stay he visited every part of the peninsula, 

**> but spent most of his time in Seville, wherefore it is quite 

>% possible that his views may have an Andalusian tinge. 

Vfi In the spelling of proper names the English form has been 

t* Adopted if it is of well-established usage. The founder of 

s $4he Carlists and Carlism, however, is retained as "Don 

"*"-^7arlos" for obvious reasons of euphony. In all other cases 

Ate Spanish has been preferred. The phrase "the Americas" 

s often used as a general term for Spain s overseas colonies. 

c may therefore include the Philippines sometimes. The 

Tin "Moslems" has been employed for the Mohammedan 

vaders of Spain. The word " Moors" has been avoided, be- 

ase it is historically inaccurate as a general term for all the 

jiders ; the Almohades, or Moors, were a branch of the 

&fi>er family, and other Moslem peoples had preceded them 

Spain by upwards of four hundred years. Their influence 

-rioth as regards culture and racial traits was far less than that 

#+$ the Arabs, who were the most important of the conquering 

* The Historia, in four volumes, was first published in the years 
to 1911, at Barcelona. It has now reached its third edition, 
to 1914. An excellent bibliography eighty-eight pages in length 
well over a thousand items is to be found in the fourth volume. 

2 The founding of Spanish California (The Macmillan Company. 
York. 1916), chap. IX. 


races, and this fact, together with their late arrival, should 
militate against the application of their name to the whole 
era of Moslem Spain. All of these alien peoples were 
Mohammedans, which would seem to justify the use of the 
word "Moslems/ The word "lords" in some cases indicates 
ecclesiastics as well as nobles. "Town" has been employed 
generally for "villa," "concejo," "pueblo," " aldea," and 
"ciudad," except when special attention has been drawn to 
the different types of municipalities. Spanish institutional 
terms have been translated or explained at their first use. 
They also appear in the index. 

As on previous occasions, so now, the writer finds himself 
under obligations to his colleagues in the Department of 
History of the University of California. Professor Stephens 
has read much of this manuscript and has made helpful sug 
gestions as to content and style. Professors Bolton and 
Priestley and Doctor Hackett, of the "Bancroft Library 
group," have displayed a spirit of cooperation which the 
writer greatly appreciates. Professor Jaen of the Depart 
ment of Romance Languages gave an invaluable criticism of 
the chapter on contemporary Spain. Senor Jesus Yanguas, 
the Sevillian architect, furnished the lists of men of letters 
and artists appearing in that chapter. Professor Shepherd 
of Columbia University kindly consented to allow certain of 
the maps appearing in his Historical atlas to be copied here. 
Doctors R. G. Cleland^ C. L. Goodwin, F. S. Philbrick, and 
J. A. Robertson have aided me with much valued criticisms. 
The writer is also grateful to his pupils, the Misses Bepler 
and Juda, for assistance rendered. 


BERKBLET, January 5, 1918. 



PREFACE .......... vii 


TORY OF SPAIN ...... 1 


III. ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C.-409 A.D. ... 15 

IV. VISIGOTHIC SPAIN, 409-713 .... 26 
V. MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 38 


1035 53 


1031-1276 84 


SPAIN, 1031-1276 102 

TILE, 1252-1479 Ill 


ARAGON, 1276-1479 125 


XIII. THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 , . . 151 

XIV. THE ARAGONESE STATE, 1276-1479 . . . 166 


1252-1479 192 


XIX. SOCIAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 .... 210 

XX. POLITICAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 . . . 219 

1517 228 

XXII. CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-1556 . . .234 

XXIII. THE REIGN OF PHILIP II, 1556-1598 . . 246 

XXIV. A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700 . . 258 
XXV. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS, 1516-1700 . . .272 




ECONOMIC FACTORS, 15161700 .... 



SPANISH SOCIETY, 1700-1808 .... 
THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY, 1898-1917 . 












XXXV 11. 




INDEX .... 







THE fact that this book is in great part a summary, or 
selection, from one of mine, as is stated in the Preface, makes 
it almost a duty for me to do what would in any event be 
a great pleasure in the case of a work by Professor Chap 
man. I refer to the duty of writing a few paragraphs by 
way of introduction. But, at the same time, this circum 
stance causes a certain conflict of feelings in me, since no 
one, unless it be a pedant, can act so freely in self-criticism 
as he would if he were dealing with the work of another. 
Fortunately, Professor Chapman has incorporated much of 
his own harvest in this volume, and to that I may refer with 
entire lack of embarrassment. 

Obviously, the plan and the labor of condensing all of the 
material for a history of Spain constitute in themselves a 
commendable achievement. In fact, there does not exist in 
any language of the world today a compendium of the history 
of Spain reduced to one volume which is able to satisfy all 
of the exigencies of the public at large and the needs of teach 
ing, without an excess of reading and of labor. None of 
the histories of my country written in English, German, 
French, or Italian in the nineteenth century can be unqual 
ifiedly recommended. Some, such as that by Hume, en 
titled The Spanish people, display excellent attributes, but 
these are accompanied by omissions to which modern 
historiography can no longer consent. As a general rule 
these histories are altogether too political in character. 
At other times they offend from an excess of bookish erudi 
tion and from a lack of a personal impression of what our 
people are, as well as from a failure to narrate their story 
in an interesting way, or indeed, they perpetuate errors and 
legends, long since discredited, with respect to our past and 



present life. We have some one-volume histories of Spain 
in Castilian which are to be recommended for the needs 
of our own secondary schools, but not for those of a foreign 
country, whose students require another manner of presenta 
tion of our history, for they have to apply an interrogatory 
ideal which is different from ours in their investigation of the 
deeds of another people, all the more so if that people, 
like the Spanish, has mingled in the life of nearly the whole 
world and been the victim of the calumnies and fanciful 
whims of historians, politicians, and travellers. 

For all of these reasons the work of condensation by Pro 
fessor Chapman constitutes an important service in itself 
for the English-speaking public, for it gives in one volume 
the most substantial features of our history from primitive 
times to the present moment. Furthermore, there are 
chapters in his work which belong entirely to him : XXXII, 
XXXIX, and XL. The reason for departing from my text 
in Chapter XXXII is given by Professor Chapman in the 
Preface. As for the other two he was under the unavoid 
able necessity of constructing them himself. His, for me, 
very flattering method of procedure, possible down to the 
year 1808, if indeed it might find a basis for continuation 
in a chapter of mine in the Cambridge modern history (v. X), 
in my lectures on the history of Spain in the nineteenth 
century (given at the Ateneo of Madrid, some years ago), 
in the little manual of the Hisioria de la civilization espanola 
(History of Spanish civilization) which goes to the year 
1898, and even in the second part of a recent work, Espana 
y el programa americanista (Spain and the Americanist 
program), published at Madrid in 1917, nevertheless could 
not avail itself of a single text, a continuous, systematized 
account, comprehensive of all the aspects of our national 
life as in the case of the periods prior to 1808. Moreover, it 
is better that the chapters referring to the nineteenth cen 
tury and the present time should be written by a foreign 
pen, whose master in this instance, as a result of his having 
lived in Spain, is able to contribute that personal impression 
of which I have spoken before, an element which if it is at 
times deceiving in part, through the influence of a too local 


or regional point of view, is always worth more than that 
understanding which proceeds only from erudite sources. 

I would not be able to say, without failing in sincerity 
(and therefore in the first duty of historiography), that I 
share in and subscribe to all the conclusions and generaliza 
tions of Professor Chapman about the contemporary history 
and present condition of Spain. At times my dissent would 
not be more than one of the mere shade of meaning, perhaps 
from the form of expression, given to an act which, accord 
ing as it is presented, is, or is not, exact. But in general I 
believe that Professor Chapman sees modern Spain cor 
rectly, and does us justice in many things in which it is not 
frequent that we are accorded that consideration. This 
alone would indeed be a great merit in our eyes and would 
deserve our applause. The English-speaking public will 
have a guarantee, through this work, of being able to con* 
template a quite faithful portrait of Spain, instead of a 
caricature drawn in ignorance of the facts or in bad faith. 
With this noble example of historiographical calm, Pro 
fessor Chapman amply sustains one of the most sympathetic 
notes which, with relation to the work of Spain in America, 
has for some years been characteristic, that which we should 
indeed call the school of North American historians. 

February, 1918. 




THE Iberian Peninsula, embracing the modern states of Isolation 
Spain and Portugal, is entirely surrounded by the waters 
of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, except 
for a strip in the north a little less than three hundred miles 
in length, which touches the southern border of France./ 
Even at that point Spain is almost completely shut off from 
the rest of Europe, because of the high range of the Pyrenees 
Mountain^. Portugal, although an independent state and 
set apart to a certain extent by a mountainous boundary, 
cannot be said to be geographically distinct from Spain. 
Indeed, many regions in Spain are quite as separate from 
each other as is Portugal from the Spanish lands she borders 
upon. Until the late medieval period, too, the history of 
Portugal was in the same current as that of the peninsula 
as a whole. 

The greatest average elevation in Spain is found in the Mountain! 
centre, in Castile and Extremadura, whence there is a de- a ^ 
scent, by great steps as it were, to the east and to the west. P lateauB - 
On, the eastern side the descent is short and rapid to the 
Mediterranean Sea. On the west, the land falls by longer 
and more gradual slopes to the Atlantic Ocean, so that 
central Spain may be said to look geographically toward the 
west/ There is an even more gentle decline from the base 
of the Pyrenees to the valley of the Guadalquivir, although 
it is interrupted by plateaus which rise above the general 
level. r All of these gradients are modified greatly by the 
mountain ranges within the peninsula. The Pyrenean 




range not only separates France from Spain, but also con 
tinues westward under the name Cantabrian Mountains 
for an even greater distance along the northern coast of the 
latter country, leaving but little lowland space along the 
sea, until it reaches Galicia in the extreme northwests * Here 
it expands until it covers an area embracing northern Portu 
gal as well. ^At about the point where the Pyrenees proper 
and the Cantabrian Mountains come together the Iberian, 
or Celtiberian, range, a series of isolated mountains for the 
most part, breaks off to the southeast until near the Mediter 
ranean, ^vhen it curves to the west, merging with the Peni- 
betica range (better known as the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 
the name of that part of the range lying south of the city 
of Granada), which moves westward near the southern coast 
to end in the cape of Tarif a. 4 

Geograph- * These mountains divide the peninsula into four regions : 
ical divi- the narrow littoral on the northern coast ; Aragon, Cata- 
lonia > Valencia > Murcia, and most of La Mancha, looking 
toward the Mediterranean; Almerfa, Malaga, and part of 
Granada and Cddiz in the south of Spain ; and the vast 
region comprising the rest of the peninsula. The last- 
named is subdivided into four principal regions of impor 
tance historically. The Carpetana, or Carpeto-Vetonica, 
range in the north (more often called the Guadarrama 
Mountains) separates Old Castile from New Castile and 
Extremadura to the south, and continues into Portugal./ 
The Oretana range crosses the provinces of Cuenca, Toledo, 
Ciudad Real, Caceres, and Badajoz, also terminating in 
Portugal. Finally, the Marianica range (more popularly 
known as the Sierra Morena) forms the boundary of Castile 
and Extremadura with Andalusia. Each of the four sub 
divisions has a great river valley, these being respectively, 
from north to south, the Douro, Tagus, Guadiana, and Gua 
dalquivir. Various other sub-sections might be named, 
but only one is of prim^jmp^t^njce, the valley of the 
^^^ lying- between the Pyrenees 

MlbraSaK of "the Iberian range. Within these 
regions, embracing parts of several of them, there is another 
that is especially noteworthy, that of the vast table-land 


of central Spain between the Ebro and the Guadalquivir. 
This is an elevated region, difficult of access from all of the 
surrounding lands. Geologists have considered it the 
"permanent nucleus of the peninsula. It is in turn di 
vided into two table-lands of unequal height by the great 
Carpeto-Vet6nica range. The long coast line of the pen 
insula, about 2500 miles in length, has also been a factor of 
no small importance historically. Despite the length of her 
border along the sea, Spain has, next to Switzerland, the 
greatest average elevation of any country in Europe, so high 
are her mountains and table-lands. 

These geographical conditions have had important con- Disadvai*. 
sequences climatically and economically and especially tageous 
historically. The altitude and irregularity of the land have effects * 
produced widely separated extremes of temperature^aiffiJugh geograi> y * 
as a general rule a happy medium is maintained. To geo 
graphical causes, also, are due the alternating seasons of rain 
and drought in most of Spain, especially in Castile, Valencia, 
and Andalusia, which have to contend, too, with. the dis 
advantages of a smaller annual rainfall than is the lot of 
most other parts of Europe and with the torrential rains 
which break the season of drought. When it rains, the 
water descends in such quantity and with such rapidity from 
the mountains to the sea that the river beds are often un 
able to contain it, and dangerous floods result. Further 
more, the sharpness of the slope makes it difficult to utilize 
these rivers for irrigation or navigation, so swift is the 
current, and so rapidly do the rivers spend themselves. 
\Finally, the rain is not evenly distributed, and some regions, 
especially the high plateau country of Castile and La 
Mancha, are particularly dry and are difficult of cultiva- 

On the other hand the geographical conditions of the Beneficial 
peninsula have produced distinct benefits to counterbalance effects. 
the disadvantages. The coastal plains are often very fer 
tile. Especially is this true of the east and south, where 
the vine and the olive, oranges, rice, and other fruits and 
vegetables are among the best in the world. The northern 
coast is of slight value agriculturally, but, thanks to a rain- 


fall which is constant and greater than necessary, is 
pastorally. Here, too, there is a very agreeable clim^* f e. 
due in large measure to a favoring ocean current, which **>- 
also been influential in producing the forests in a part ? 
Galicia. These factors have made the northern coast a 
favorite summer resort for Spaniards and, indeed, for many 
other Europeans. The mountains in all parts of the penin 
sula have proved to contain a mineral wealth which many 
centuries of mining have been unable to exhaust. Some 
gold and more silver have been found, but metals of use 
industrially such, for example, as copper have been 
the most abundant. The very difficulties which Spaniards 
have had to overcome helped to develop virile traits which 
have made their civilization of more force in the world than 
might have been expected from a country of such scant 
wealth and population. 1 

The most marked result of these natural conditions has 
been the isolation, not only of Spain from the rest of the 
world, but also of the different regions of Spain from one 

another. Spaniards have therefore developed the conserva- 

individual- tive clinging to their own institutions and the individuality 
of an island people.lj While this has retarded their develop 
ment into a nation, it has held secure the advances made 
and has vitalized Spanish civilization. For centuries the 
most isolated parts were also the most backward, this being 
especially true of Castile, whereas the more inviting and 
more easily invaded south and east coasts were the most 
susceptible to foreign influence and the most advanced 
intellectually as well as economically. When at length 
the centre accepted the civilization of the east and south, 
and by reason of its virility was able to dominate them, it 

1 The first and most important social question in the history of 
the Spanish people, says Altamira, is that of modifying the physical 
conditions of the peninsula, as the basis of their national develop 
ment. They have been able to count on the fertility of some regions, 
the^ abundant waters of others at some seasons of the year (most of 
which is lost in the sea, without being utilized), the wealth of sub 
terranean waters in many localities, and the mineral wealth which 
lends itself also to industrial development. In other words, the 
problem is that of correcting the unequal distribution of Spain s 
resources, rather than of a lack of them. 


the cause 
of Spanish 


osed its law, its customs, and its conservatism upon 
a, and reached across the seas to the Americas, where 
%; ^&ndf ill of men were able to leave an imperishable legacy 
% Spanish civilization to a great part of two continents. 

Specific facts in Spanish history can also be traced very Events 
largely to the effects of geography. The mineral wealth traceable 
of the peninsula has attracted foreign peoples throughout to ~ 
recorded history, and the fertility of the south and east has 
also been a potent inducement to an invasion, whether of 
armies or of capital. The physical features of the peninsula 
helped these peoples to preserve their racial characteristics, 
with the result that Spain presents an unusual variety in 
traits and customs. The fact that the valley of the Guadal 
quivir descends to the sea before reaching the eastern line 
of the Portuguese boundary had an influence in bringing 
about the independence of Portugal, for while Castile still 
had to combat the Moslem states Portugal could turn her 
energies inward. Nevertheless, one must not think that 
geography has been the only or even the controlling factor 
in the life and events of the Iberian Peninsula. Others have 
been equally or more important, such as those of race and, 
especially, the vast group of circumstances involving the 
relations of men and of states which may be given the col 
lective name of history. 



Prehistoric THE Iberian Peninsula has not always had the same form 
Spain. which it now has, or the same plants, animals, or climate 
which are found there today. For example, it is said that 
Spain was once united by land with Africa, and also by way 
of Sicily, which had not yet become an island, with southern 
Italy, making a great lake of the western Mediterranean. 
The changes as a result of which the peninsula assumed its 
present characteristics belong to the field of geology, and 
need to be mentioned here only as affording some clue to 
the earliest colonization of the land^ In like manner the 
description of the primitive peoples of Spain belongs more 
properly to the realm of ethnology. It is worthy of note, 
however, that there is no proof that the earliest type of man 
in Europe, the Neanderthal, or Canstadt, man, 1 existed 
in Spain, and it is believed that the next succeeding type, the 
Furfooz man, entered at a time when a third type, the 
Cromagnon, was already there. Evidences of the Cro- 
magnon man are numerous in Spain. Peoples of this type 
may have been the original settlers of the Iberian Penin 
sula. 2 Like the Neanderthal and Furfooz men they are 
described generally as paleolithic men, for their implements 
were of rough stone. After many thousands of years the 
neolithic man, or man of the polished stone age, developed 

1 So called from the localities in Germany where bones of men 
of this type were discovered. 

2 The inhabitants of the Canary Islands, a Spanish group off 
the northwest coast of Africa, are of this race. They preserved 
their racial characteristics with great purity until the fifteenth 
century, since -which time more and more intermixture has taken 



in Spain as in other parts of the world. In some respects 
the neolithic man of Spain differed from the usual European 
type, but was similar to the neolithic man of Greece. This 
has caused some writers to argue for a Greek origin of the 
early Spanish peoples, but others claim that similar mani 
festations might have developed independently in each 
region. Neolithic man was succeeded by men of the ages 
of the metals, copper, bronze, and iron. The age of 
iron, at least, coincided with the entry into Spain of peoples 
who come within the sphere of recorded history. As early 
as the bronze age a great mixture of races had taken place 
in Spain, although the brachycephalic successors of the 
Cromagnon race were perhaps the principal type. These 
were succeeded by a people who probably arrived in pre 
historic times, but later than the other races of those ages 
that dolichocephalic group to which has been applied the 
name Iberians. They were the dominating people at the 
time of the arrival of the Phoenicians and Greeks. 

The early Spanish peoples left no literature which has The 
survived, wherefore dependence has to be placed on foreign Iberiani. 
writers. No writings prior to the sixth century B.C. which 
refer to the Iberian Peninsula are extant, and those of that 
and the next two centuries are too meagre to throw much 
light on the history or the peoples of the land. These ac 
counts were mainly those of Greeks, with also some from 
Carthaginians. In the first two centuries B.C. and in the 
first and succeeding centuries of the Christian era there 
were more complete accounts, based in part on earlier writings 
which are no longer available. One of the problems result 
ing from the paucity of early evidences is that of the deter 
mination of Iberian origins. Some hold that the name 
Iberian should not have an extensive application, asserting 
that it belongs only to the region of the Ebro (Iberus), the 
name of which river was utilized by the Greek, Scylax, of 
the sixth century B.C., in order to designate the tribes of that 
vicinity. Most writers use the term Iberians, however, as 
a general one for the peoples in Spain at the dawn of re 
corded history, maintaining that they were akin to the ancient 
Chaldeans and Assyrians, who came from Asia into northern 



The Celtic 


Africa, stopping perhaps to have a share in the origin of 1* 
Egyptian people, and entering Spain from the south. Ae*^ 
cording to some authors the modern Basques of northerr 
Spain and the Berbers of northern Africa are descendants- 
of the same people, although there are others who do not 
agree with this opinion. Some investigators have gone so 
far as to assert the existence of a great Iberian Empire, 
extending through northern Africa, Spain, southern France, 
northern Italy, Corsica, Sicily, and perhaps other lands. 
This empire, they say, was founded in the fifteenth century 
B.C., and fought with the Egyptians and Phoenicians for 
supremacy in the Mediterranean, in alliance, perhaps, with 
the Hittites of Asia Minor, but was defeated, and fell apart 
in the twelfth or eleventh century B.C., at which time th<$ 
Phoenicians entered Spain. > 

The origin of the Celts is more certain. Unlike the 
Iberians they were of Indo-European race. In the third 
century B.C. they occupied a territory embracing the greater 
part of the lands from the modern Balkan states through 
northern Italy and France, with extremities in Britain and 
Spain. They entered the peninsula possibly as early as the 
sixth century B.C., but certainly not later than the fourth, 
coming by way of the Pyrenees. It is generally held that 
they dominated the northwest and west, the regions of 
modern Galicia and Portugal, leaving the Pyrenees, eastern 
Spain, and part of the south in full possession of the Iberians. 
In the centre and along the northern and southern coasts 
the two races mingled to form the Celtiberians, in which 
the Iberian element was the more important. These names 
were not maintained very strictly; rather, the ancient 
writers were wont to employ group names of smaller sub 
divisions for these peoples, such as Cantabrians, Turdetan- 
ians, and Lusitanians. r 

It is not yet possible to distinguish clearly between Iberian 
and Celtic civilization ; in any event it must be remembered 
that primitive civilizations resemble one another very 
greatly in their essentials. There was certainly no united 
Iberian or Celtic nation within historic times ; rather, these 
peoples lived in small groups which were independent and 


/arely communicated with one another except for 

ommerce and wars of neighboring tribes. For pur- 

of war tribal bodies federated to form a larger union 

che names of these confederations are those which ap- 

ir most frequently in contemporary literature. The 

sitanians, for example, were a federation of thirty tribes, 

.d the Galicians of forty. The social and political organi- 

Cation of these peoples was so similar to others in their stage 

of culture, the world over, that it need only be indicated 

riefly. The unit was the gens, made up of a number of 

nailies, forming an independent whole and bound together 

ugh having the same gods and the same religious prac- 

ind by a real or feigned blood relationship. Various 

> united to form a larger unit, the tribe, which was 

I by the same ties of religion and blood, although they 

less clearly defined. Tribes in turn united, though 

temporarily and for military purposes, and the great 

* ederations were the result. In each unit from gens to 

ederation there was a chief, or monarch, and delibera- 

assemblies, sometimes aristocratic, and sometimes 

jtive. The institutions of slavery, serfdom, and personal 

>roperty existed. Nevertheless, in some tribes property 

vas owned in common, and there is reason to believe that 

his practice was quite extensive. In some respects the 

ribes varied considerably as regards the stage of culture to 

^hich they had attained. Those of the fertile Andalusian 

ntry were not only far advanced in agriculture, industry, 

.1 commerce, but they also had a literature, which was 

xd to be six thousand years old. This has all been lost, 

inscriptions of these and other tribes have survived, 

Hough they have yet to be translated. On the other 

i the peoples of the centre, west, and north were in a 

e state; the Lusitanians of Portugal stood out from the 

in warlike character. Speaking generally, ancient 

tters ascribed to the Spanish peoples physical endurance, 

oic valor, fidelity (even to the point of death), love of 

rty, and lack of discipline as salient traits. 

. he first historic people to establish relations with the 

jrian Peninsula were the Phoenicians. Centuries before, 



The Phoe- they had formed a confederation of cities in their land, 
nicians in whence they proceeded to establish commercial relations 
Spain. w [fa the Mediterranean world. The traditional date for 
their entry into Spain is the eleventh century, when they 
are believed to have conquered Cadiz. Later they occupied 
posts around nearly all of Spain, going even as far as Galicia 
in the northwest. They exploited the mineral wealth of 
the peninsula, and engaged in commerce, using a system 
not unlike that of the British factories of the eighteenth 
century in India in their dealings with the natives. Their 
settlements were at the same time a market and a fort, 
located usually on an island or on an easily defensible prom 
ontory, though near a native town. Many of these 
Phoenician factories have been identified, among others, 
those of Seville, Malaga, Algeciras, and the island of Ibiza, 
as well as Cadiz, which continued to be the most important 
centre. These establishments were in some cases bound 
politically to the mother land, but in others they were 
private ventures. In either case they were bound by ties 
of religion and religious tribute to the cities of Phoenicia. 
To the Phoenicians is due the modern name of the greater 
part of the peninsula. They called it "Span/ or "Spania," 
meaning "hidden (or remote) land." In course of time they 
were able to extend their domination inland, introducing 
important modifications in the life of the Iberian tribes, 
if only through the articles of commerce they brought. 
The Car- The conquest of Phoenicia by the kings of Assyria^ and 
thaginian Chaldea had an effect on far-away Spain. The Phoenician 
conquest, settlements of the peninsula became independent, but they 
began to have ever more extensive relations with the great 
Phoenician colony of Carthage on the North African coast. 
This city is believed to have acquired the island of Ibiza 
in much earlier times, but it was not until the sixth century 
B.C. that the Carthaginians entered Spain in force. At 
that time the people of C&diz are said to have been engaged 
in a dangerous war with certain native tribes, wherefore 
they invited the Carthaginians to help them. The latter 
came, and, as has so often occurred in history, took over 
for themselves the land which they had entered as allies. 


Meanwhile, the Greeks had already been in Spain for The 
some years. Tradition places the first Greek voyage to Greeks 
the Spanish coast in the year 630 B.C. Thereafter there ^SP 8 ^ 
were commercial voyages by the Greeks to the peninsula, 
followed in time by the founding of settlements. The 
principal colonizers were the Phocians, proceeding from 
their base at Marseilles, where they had established them 
selves in the seventh century B.C. Their chief post in Spain 
was at Emporium (on the site of Castellon de Ampurias, in 
the province of Gerona, Catalonia), and they also had 
important colonies as far south as the Valencian coast and 
yet others in Andalusia, Portugal, Galicia, and Asturias. 
Their advance was resisted by the Phoenicians and their 
Carthaginian successors, who were able to confine the 
Greeks to the upper part of the eastern coast as the prin 
cipal field of their operations. The Greek colonies were 
usually private ventures, bound to the city-states from which 
they had proceeded by ties of religion and affection alone. 
They were also independent of one another. Their manner 
of entry resembled that already described in the case of 
the Phoenicians, for they went first to the islands near the 
coast, and thence to the mainland, where at length they 
joined with native towns, although having a separate, 
walled-off district of their own, comparable to the situa 
tion at the present day in certain ports of European nations 
on the coast of China. Once masters of the coast the 
Greeks were able to penetrate inland and to introduce 
Greek goods and Greek influences over a broad area of the 
peninsula. To them is attributed the introduction of the 
vine and the olive, which ever since have been an important 
factor in the economic history of Spain. 

The principal objects of the Carthaginians in Spain were Spain 
to develop the rich silver mines of the land and to engage u^der the 
in commerce. In furtherance of these aims they established Baroas - 
a rigorous military system, putting garrisons in the cities, 
and insisting on tribute in both soldiers and money. In 
other respects they left both the Phoenician colonies and the 
native tribes in full enjoyment of their laws and customs, 
but founded cities of their own on the model of Carthage. 


They did not attempt a thorough conquest of the peninsula 
until their difficulties with the rising power of Rome pointed 
out its desirability. In the middle of the third century 
B.C., Carthage, which had long been the leading power in 
the western Mediterranean, came into conflict with Rome 
in the First Punic War. As a result of this war, which ended 
in 242 B.C., Rome took the place of Carthage in Sicily. It 
was then that Hamilcar of the great Barca family of Carthage 
suggested the more thorough occupation of Spain as a coun 
terpoise to the Roman acquisition of Sicily, in the hope that 
Carthage might eventually engage with success in a new 
war with Rome. He at length entered Spain with a Car 
thaginian army in 236 B.C., having also been granted political 
powers which were so ample that he became practically 
independent of direction from Carthage. The conquest 
was not easy, for while many tribes joined with him, others 
offered a bitter resistance. Hamilcar achieved vast con 
quests, built many forts, and is traditionally supposed to 
have founded the city of Barcelona, which bears his family 
name. He died in battle, and was succeeded by his son- 
in-law, Hasdrubal. Hasdrubal followed a policy of concilia 
tion and peace, encouraging his soldiers to marry Iberian 
women, and himself wedding a Spanish princess. He made 
his capital at Cartagena, building virtually a new city on 
the site of an older one. This was the principal military 
and commercial centre in Spain during the remainder of 
Carthaginian rule. There the Barcas erected great public 
buildings and palaces, and ruled the country like kings. 
Hasdrubal was at length assassinated, leaving his command 
to Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar. Though less than thirty 
years of age Hannibal was already an experienced soldier 
and was also an ardent Carthaginian patriot, bitterly hostile 
to Rome. The time now seemed ripe for the realization of 
the ambitions of Hamilcar. 

Siege of In order to check the Carthaginian advance the Romans 

Saguntum. h a cl long since put themselves forward as protectors of the 

Greek colonies of Spain. Whether Saguntum was included 

in the treaties they had made or whether it was a Greek 

city at all is doubted today, but when Hannibal got into 


a dispute with that city and attacked it Rome claimed that 
this violated the treaty which had been made by HasdrubaL 
It was in the year 219 B.C. that Hannibal laid siege to Sa- 
guntum. The Saguntines defended their city with a heroic 
valor which Spaniards have many times manifested under 
like circumstances. When resistance seemed hopeless they 
endeavored to destroy their wealth and take their own lives. 
Nevertheless, Hannibal contrived to capture many prisoners, 
who were given to his soldiers as slaves, and to get a vast 
booty, part of which he forwarded to Carthage. This 
arrived when the Carthaginians were discussing the ques 
tion of Saguntum with a Roman embassy, and, coupled 
with patriotic pride, it caused them to sustain Hannibal 
and to declare war on Rome in the year 218 B.C. 

Hannibal had already organized a great army of over Expulsion 
100,000 men, in great part Spanish troops, and had started of the 
by the land route for Italy. His brilliant achievements in 9 a ^ tlia * 
Italy, reflecting, though they do, not a little glory on Spain, f^ t ^ 8 
belong rather to the history of Rome. The Romans had Romans, 
hoped to detain him in Spain, and had sent Gnseus Scipio 
to accomplish this end. When he arrived in Spain he found 
that Hannibal had already gone. He remained, however, 
and with the aid of another army under his brother, Publius 
Cornelius Scipio, was able to overrun a great part of Cata 
lonia and Valencia. In this campaign the natives followed 
their traditional practice of allying, some with one side, 
others with the other. Hannibal s brother Hasdrubal was 
at length able to turn the tide, defeating the two Scipios 
in 211 B.C. He then proceeded to the aid of Hannibal in 
Italy, but his defeat at the battle of the Metaurus was a 
deathblow to Carthage in the war against Rome. The 
-Romans, meanwhile, renewed the war in Spain, where the 
youthful Publius Cornelius Scipio, son of the Scipio of the 
same name who had been killed in Spain, had been placed 
in command. By reckless daring and good fortune rather 
than by military skill Scipio won several battles and captured 
the great city of Cartagena. He ingratiated himself with 
native tribes by promises to restore their liberty and by 
several generous acts calculated to please them, as, for 


Results of 

example, his return of a native girl who had been given to 
him, on learning that she was on the point of being married 
to a native prince. These practices helped him to win 
victory after victory, despite several instances of desperate 
resistance, until at length in 206 B.C. the Carthaginians 
abandoned the peninsula. It was this same Scipio who 
later defeated Hannibal at Zama, near Carthage, in 202 B.C., 
whereby he brought the war to an end and gained for him 
self the surname Africanus. 

The Carthaginians had been in Spain for over two hundred 
years, and, as was natural, had influenced the customs of 
t ^ e na tives. Nevertheless, then: rule was rather a con- 
t j nuat j on ^ on a grander scale, of the Phoenician civilization. 
From the standpoint of race, too, they and then: Berber 
and Numidian allies, who entered with them, were perhaps 
of the same blood as the primitive Iberians. They had 
developed far beyond them, however, and their example 
assisted the native tribesmen to attain to a higher culture 
than had hitherto been acquired. If Rome was to mould 
Spanish civilization, it must not be forgotten that the 
Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians had already pre 
pared the way. 


ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C. -409 AJX 

UNDOUBTEDLY the greatest single fact in the history of 
Spain was the long Roman occupation, lasting more than tance 
six centuries. All that Spain is or has done in the world 2: !L - 
can be traced in greatest measure to the Latin civilization cupation. 
which the organizing genius of Rome was able to graft upon 
her. Nevertheless, the history of Spain in the Roman 
period does not differ in its essentials from that of the 
Roman world at large, wherefore it may be passed over, 
with only a brief indication of events and conditions in 
Spain and a bare hint at the workings and content of Latin 
civilization in general. 

The Romans had not intended to effect a thorough con- The 
quest of Spain, but the inevitable law of expansion forced Roman 
them to attempt it, unless they wished to surrender what Con< l ue8t 
they had gained, leaving themselves once more exposed to 
danger from that quarter. The more civilized east and 
south submitted easily to the Roman rule, but the tribes 
of the centre, north, and west opposed a most vigorous and 
persistent resistance. The war lasted three centuries, but 
may be divided into three periods, in each of which the 
Romans appeared to better advantage than in the pre 
ceding, until at length the powerful effects of Roman or 
ganization were already making themselves felt over all 
the land, even before the end of the wars. 

The first of these periods began while the Carthaginians The 
were still in the peninsula, and lasted for upwards of seventy military 
years. This was an era of bitter and often temporarily 
successful resistance to Rome, a matter which taxed 



the resources of the Roman Republic heavily. The very 
lack of union of the Spanish peoples tended to prolong the 
conflict, since any tribe might make war, then peace, and 
war again, with the result that no conquests, aside from those 
in the east and south, were ever secure. The type of war 
fare was also difficult for the Roman legionaries to cope 
with, for the Spaniards fought in small groups, taking ad 
vantage of their knowledge of the country to cut off detach 
ments or to surprise larger forces when they were not in 
the best position to fight. These military methods, em 
ployed by Spaniards many times in their history, have 
been given, very appropriately, a Spanish name, guerrilla 
(little war). Service in Spain came to be the most dreaded 
of all by the Roman troops, and several times Roman soldiers 
refused to go to the peninsula, or to fight when they got 
there, all of which encouraged the Spanish tribes to continue 
the revolt. The Romans employed harsh methods against 
those who resisted them, levelling their city walls and 
towers, selling prisoners of war into slavery, and imposing 
heavy taxes on conquered towns. They often displayed an 
almost inhuman brutality and treachery, which probably 
harmed their cause rather than helped it. Two incidents 
stand out as the most important in this period, and they 
illustrate the way in which the Romans conducted the war, 
the wars of the Romans against the Lusitanians and 
against the city of Numantia in the middle years of the 
second century B.C. 

Viriatus, The Roman leader Galba had been defeated by the Lusi 
tanians, whereupon he resorted to an unworthy stratagem 
to reduce them. He granted them a favorable peace, and 
then when they were returning to their homes unprepared 
for an attack he fell upon them, and mercilessly put them to 
death. He could not kill them all, however, and a deter 
mined few gathered about a shepherd named Viriatus to 
renew the war. Viriatus was a man of exceptional military 
talent, and he was able to reconquer a great part of western 
and central Spain. For eight or nine years he hurled back 
army after army sent against him, until at length the Roman 
general Servilianus recognized the independence of the lands 

ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C. - 409 A.D. 17 

in the control of Viriatus. The Roman government dis 
avowed the act of Servilianus, and sent out another general, 
Csepio by name, who procured the assassination of Viriatus. 
Thereafter, the Lusitanians were unable to maintain an 
effective resistance, and they were obliged to take up their 
abode in lands where they could be more easily controlled 
should they again attempt a revolt. 

Meanwhile, the wars of Numantia, which date from the The 
year 152 B.C., were still going on. Numantia was a city on wars of ^ 
the Douro near the present town of Soria, and seems to NumaJ1 t ia. 
have been at that time the centre, or capital, of a powerful 
confederation. Around this city occurred the principal 
incidents of the war in central Spain, although the fighting 
went on elsewhere as well. Four times the Roman armies 
were utterly defeated and obliged to grant peace, but on 
each occasion their treaties were disavowed by the govern 
ment or else the Roman generals declined to abide by their 
own terms. Finally, Rome sent Scipio ^Emilianus, her 
best officer, with a great army to bring the war to an end. 
This general contrived to reach the walls of Numantia, and 
was so skilful in his methods that the city was cut off from 
its water-supply and even from the hope of outside help* 
The Numantines therefore asked for terms, but the con 
ditions offered were so harsh that they resolved to burn the 
city and fight to the death. This they did, killing them 
selves if they did not fall in battle. Thus ended the Numan- 
tine wars at a date placed variously from 134 to 132 B.C. 
The most serious part of the fighting was now over. 

In the next period, lasting more than a hundred years, Sertorius. 
there were not a few native revolts against the Romans, but 
the principal characteristic of the era was the part which 
Spain played in the domestic strife of the Roman Republic. 
Spain had already become sufficiently Romanized to be the 
most important Roman province. When the party of Sulla 
triumphed over that of Marius in Rome, Sertorius, a par 
tisan of the latter, had to flee from Italy, and made his 
way to Spain and thence to Africa. In 81 B.C. he returned 
to Spain, and put himself at the head of what purported 
to be a revolt against Rome. Part Spanish in blood he was 


able to attract the natives to his standard as well as the 
Romans in Spain who were opposed to Sulla, and in a short 
time he became master of most of the peninsula. He was 
far from desiring a restoration of native independence, how 
ever, but wished, through Spain, to overthrow the Sullan 
party in Rome. The real significance of his revolt was that 
it facilitated the Romanization of the country, for Sertorius 
introduced Roman civilization under the guise of a war 
against the Roman state. His governmental administra 
tion was based on that of Rome, and his principal officials 
were either Romans or part Roman in blood. He also 
founded schools in which the teachers were Greeks and 
Romans. It was natural that not a few of the natives 
should view with displeasure the secondary place allottee? 
to them and their customs and to their hopes of independ 
ence. Several of the Roman officers with Sertorius also 
became discontented, whether through envy or ambition. 
Thus it was that the famous Roman general Pompey was 
at length able to gain a victory by treachery which he could 
not achieve by force of arms. A price was put on Sertorius 
head, and he was assassinated in 72 B.C. by some of his 
companions in arms, as Viriatus had been before him. In 
the course of the next year Pompey was able to subject the 
entire region formerly ruled by Sertorius. In the war be 
tween Caesar and Pompey, commencing in 49 B.C., Spain 
twice served as a battle-ground where Caesar gained grea/ 
victories over the partisans of his enemy, at Ilerda (modern 
Lerida) in 49, and at Munda (near Ronda) in 45 B.C. It is 
noteworthy that by this time a Csesar could seek his Romap 
enemy in Spain, without paying great heed to the nativl 
peoples. The north and northwest were not wholly subdued 
however. This task was left to the victor in the next period 
of civil strife at Rome, Octavius, who became the Emperor 
Augustus. His general, Agrippa, finally suppressed t. 
peoples of the northern coasts, just prior to the beginnir^ 
of the Christian era. 

Invasions For another hundred years there were minor uprising 
from a fter which there followed, so far as the internal affairs e 

Afnoa. ^ p en i nsu l a were concerned, the long Roman peace. Oh 

ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C. - 409 A.D. (19) 

several occasions there were invasions from the outside, 
once by the Franks in the north, and various times by 
peoples from Africa. The latter are the more noteworthy. 
In all, or nearly all, of the wars chronicled thus far troops 
from northern Africa were engaged, while the same region 
was a stronghold for pirates who sailed the Spanish coasts. 
A large body of Berbers successfully invaded the peninsula 
between 170 and 180 A.D., but they were at length dislodged. 
This danger from Africa has been one of the permanent 
factors in the history of Spain, not only at the time of the 
great Moslem invasion of the eighth century, but also before 
that and since, down to the present day. 

Administratively, Spain was divided into, first two The 
provinces (197 B.C.), then three (probably in 15 or 14 B.C.), Romanize 
and four (216 A.D.), and at length five provinces (under * lon . of 
Diocletian), 1 but the principal basis of the Roman conquest pam * 
and control and the entering wedge for Roman civilization 
was the city, or town. In the towns there were elements 
which were of Roman blood, at least in part, as well as the 
purely indigenous peoples, who sooner or later came under 
the Roman influence. Rome sent not only armies to con 
quer the natives but also laborers to work in the mines. 
Lands, too, were allotted to her veteran soldiers, who often 
married native women, and brought up their children as 
Romans. Then there was the natural attraction of the 
superior Roman civilization, causing it to be imitated, and 
eventually acquired, by those who were not of Roman blood. 
The Roman cities were distinguished from one another 
according to the national elements of which they were 
formed, and the conquered or allied cities also had their 
different sets of rights and duties, but in all cases the result 
was the same, the acceptance of Roman civilization. In 
\ndalusia and southern Portugal the cities were com- 
letely Roman by the end of the first century, and beginning 
vith the second century the rural districts as well gradually 

^ l As an illustration of the close relationship between Spain and 
iorthern Africa it may be mentioned that the diocese of Spain 
ander Dipcletian included the province of Mauretania, or northern 

Africa. A seventh province was formed of the Balearic Islands. 


took on a Roman character. Romanization of the east was 
a little longer delayed, except in the great cities, which were 
early won over. The centre and north were the most con 
servatively persistent in their indigenous customs, but even 
there the cities along the Roman highways imitated more 
and more the methods of their conquerors. It was the 
army, especially in the early period, which made this pos 
sible. Its camps became cities, just as occurred elsewhere 
in the empire, 1 and it both maintained peace by force of 
arms, and ensured it when not engaged in campaigns by 
the construction of roads and other public works. 
The The gift of Rome to Spain and the world was twofold. 

Roman In the first place she gave what she herself had originated 
giff^to or brought to a point which was farther advanced than that 
Spam- o w j 3L j c j 1 O ther peoples had attained, and secondly she 
transmitted the civilization of other peoples with whom 
her vast conquests had brought her into contact. Rome s 
own contribution may be summed up in two words, law 
and administration. Through these factors, which had 
numerous ramifications, Rome gave the conquered peoples 
peace, so that an advance in wealth and culture also became 
possible. The details need not be mentioned here, especially 
since Roman institutions will be discussed later in dealing 
with the evolution toward national unity between 1252 
and 1479. The process of Romanization, however, was a 
slow one, not only as a result of the native opposition to 
innovation, but also because Roman ideas themselves were 
evolving through the centuries, not reaching their highest 
state, perhaps, until the second century A.D. Spain was 
especially favored in the legislation of the emperors, several 
of whom (Trajan, Hadrian, and possibly Theodosius, who 
were also among the very greatest) were born in the town 
of Italica (near Seville), while a fourth, the philosopher 
Marcus Aurelius, was of Spanish descent. 

1 Many of these city camps date from the period of Augustus, 
whose name appears in most of them, e.g. : C&saria Augusta (Sar- 
agossa) ; Urbs Septima Legionis (Leo"n) ; Asturica Augusta (Astorga) 
Lucas Augusti (Lugo) ; Emerita Augusta (MSrida) ; Pax Augusta 
(Badajoz) ; and Bracara Augusta (Braga). 

ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C. - 409 A.D. 21 

In the third and fourth centuries Spain suffered, like the Last years 
rest of the empire, from the factors which were bringing of the 
about the gradual dissolution of imperial rule. Population Romal1 
declined, in part due to plagues, and taxes increased; luxury rnle 
and long peace had also softened the people, so that the 
barbarians from the north of Europe, who had never ceased 
to press against the Roman borders, found resistance to be 
less and less effective. Indeed, the invaders were often 
more welcome than not, so heavy had the weight of the laws 
become. The dying attempt of Rome to bolster up her 
outworn administrative system is not a fact, however, to 
which much space need be ,given in a history of Spain. 
^ In Spain as elsewhere there were a great many varying Society in 
grades of society during the period of Roman dominion. Roman 
There were the aristocratic patricians, the common people, Spain, 
or plebeians, and those held in servitude. Each class had 
various sub-divisions, differing from one another. Then, 
too, there were "colleges," or guilds, of men engaged in 
the same trade, or fraternities of a religious or funerary 
nature. The difference in classes was accentuated in the 
closing days of the empire, and hardened into something 
like a caste system, based on lack of equal opportunity. 
Artisans, for example, were made subject to their trade in 
perpetuity ; the son of a carpenter had no choice in life but 
to become a carpenter. Great as was the lack of both liberty 
and equality it did not nearly approximate what it had been 
in more primitive times, and it was even less burdensome 
than it was to be for centuries after the passing of Rome. 
^Indeed, Rome introduced many social principles which 
tended to make mankind more and more free, and it is these 
ideas which are at the base of modern social liberty. Most 
important among them, perhaps, was that of the individ 
ualistic tendency of the Roman law. This operated to 
destroy the bonds which subordinated the individual to 
the will of a communal group ; in particular, it substituted 
the individual for the family, giving each man the liberty 
of following his own will, instead of subjecting him forever 
to the family. The same concept manifested itself in the 
Roman laws with reference to property. For example, 


freedom of testament was introduced, releasing property 
from the fetters by which it formerly had been bound. 
Beginnings-^ Even though Rome for a long time resisted it, she gave 
of the Christianity to the world almost as surely as she did her 
Christian R oman j aws> f or the very extent and organization of the 
Spain. m empire and the Roman tolerance (despite the various perse 
cutions of Christians) furnished the means by which the 
Christian faith was enabled to gain a foothold. In the 
fourth century the emperors gave the new religion their 
active support, and ensured its victory over the opposing 
faiths. There is a tradition that Saint Paul preached in 
Spain, but at any rate Christianity certainly existed there 
in the second century, and in the third there were numerous 
Christian communities. 1 The church was organized on 
the basis of the Roman administrative districts, employing 
also the Roman methods and the Roman law. Thus, 
through Rome, Spain gained another institution which was 
to assist in the eventual development of her national unity 
and to play a vital part in her subsequent history, 
that of a common religion. In the fourth century the 
church began to acquire those privileges which at a later 
time were to furnish such a problem to the state. It was 
authorized to receive inheritances; its clergy began to be 
granted immunities, exemptions from taxation among 
others ; and it was allowed to have law courts of its own, 
with jurisdiction over many cases where the church or 
the clergy were concerned. Church history in Spain during 
this period centres largely around the first three councils 
of the Spanish church. The first was held at Iliberis 
(Elvira) in 30G, and declared for the celibacy of the clergy, 
for up to that time priests had been allowed to marry. The 
second, held at Saragossa in 380, dealt with heresy. The 
third took place at Toledo in 400, and was very important, 
for it unified the doctrine of the Christian communities of 
Spain on the basis of the Catholic, or Nicene, creed. It was 

1 Spain contributed its share of martyrs during the periods of 
persecution, especially in the time of Diocletian. San Vicente of 
Valencia, Santa Eulafia of MSrida, San Severo of Barcelona, Santa 
Leocadia of Toledo, and Santa Engracia of Saragossa were among 
those put to death in Diocletian s reign. 

ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C. - 409 A..D. 23 

at this time, too, that monasteries began to be founded 
in Spain. The church received no financial aid from the 
state, but supported itself out of the proceeds of its own 
wealth and the contributions of the faithful. 

As in other parts of the Roman world, so too in Spain, Priscil- 
heresies were many and varied at this time. One of the lianism. 
-most prominent of them, Priscillianism, originated in Spain, 
taking its name from its propounder, Priscillian. Priscillian 
was a Galician, who under the influence of native beliefs 
set forth a new interpretation of Christianity. He denied 
the mystery of the Trinity ; claimed that the world had been 
created by the Devil and was ruled by him, asserting that 
this life was a punishment for souls which had sinned; 
defended the transmigration of souls; held that wine was 
not necessary in the celebration of the mass; and main 
tained that any Christian, whether a priest or not, might 
celebrate religious sacraments. In addition he propounded 
much else of a theological character which was not in accord 
with Catholic Christianity. It was to condemn Priscil 
lianism that the Council of Saragossa was called. Never 
theless, this doctrine found favor even among churchmen 
of high rank, and Priscillian himself became bishop of 
Avila. In the end he and his principal followers were put 
to death, but it was three centuries before Priscillianism 
was completely stamped out. In addition to this and other 
heresies the church had to combat the religions which were 
already in existence when it entered the field, such as Roman 
paganism and the indigenous faiths. It was eventually 
successful, although many survivals of old beliefs were long 
existent in the rural districts. 

The Romans continued the economic development of Economic 
Spain on a greater scale than their predecessors. Regions develop- 
which the other peoples had not reached were for the first " and 
time benefited by contact with a superior civilization, and 
the materials which Spain was already able to supply were 
diversified and improved. Although her wealth in agri 
cultural and pastoral products was very great, it was the 
mines which yielded the richest profits. It is said that there 
were forty thousand miners at Cartagena alone in the second 


century B.C. Commerce grew in proportion to the develop 
ment of wealth, and was facilitated in various ways, one of 
which deserves special mention, for its effects were far wider 
than those of mere commercial exchange. This was the 
building of public works, and especially of roads, which 
permitted the peoples of Spain to communicate freely with 
one another as never before. The roads were so extraor 
dinarily well made that some of them are still in use. 
The majority date from the period of the empire, being 
built for military reasons as one of the means of preserving 
peace. They formed a network, crossing the peninsula in 
different directions, not two or three roads, but many. The 
Romans also built magnificent bridges, which, like the roads, 
still remain in whole or in part. Trade was fostered by the 
checking of fraud and abuses through the application of the 
Roman laws of property and of contract. 

Intellect- ~~ In general culture Spain also profited greatly from the 
ual life Romans, for, if the latter were not innovators outside the 
and the fields of law and government, they had taken over much of 
ne ar s. ^ philosophy y science, literature, and the arts of Greece, 
borrowing, too, from other peoples. The Romans had also 
organized a system of public instruction as a means of dis 
seminating their culture, and this too they gave to Spain. 
The Spaniards were apt pupils, and produced some of the 
leading men in Rome in various branches of learning, among 
whom may be noted the philosopher Seneca, the rhetorician 
Quintilian, the satirical poet Martial, and the epic poet 
Lucan. The Spaniards of Cordova were especially promi 
nent in poetry and oratory, going so far as to impose their 
taste and style of speech on conservative Rome. This 
shows how thoroughly Romanized certain parts of the 
peninsula had become. In architecture the Romans had 
borrowed more from the Etruscans than from the Greeks, 
getting from them the principle of the vault and the round 
arch, by means of which they were able to erect great build 
ings of considerable height. From the Greeks they took 
over many decorative forms. Massiveness and strength 
were among the leading characteristics of Roman architec 
ture, and, due to them, many Roman edifices have with- 

BOMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C. 409 A.D. 25 

stood the ravages of time. Especially notable in Spain 
are the aqueducts, bridges, theatres, and amphitheatres 
which have survived, but there are examples, also, of walls, 
temples, triumphal arches, and tombs, while it is known 
that there were baths, though none remain. In a wealthy 
civilization like the Roman it was natural, too, that there 
should have been a great development of sculpture, painting, 
and the industrial arts. The Roman type of city, with its 
forum and with houses presenting a bare exterior and wealth 
within, was adopted in Spain. 

In some of the little practices of daily life the Spanish 
peoples continued to follow the customs of their ancestors, 
but in broad externals Spain had become as completely 
Roman as Rome herself. 


of the 

of the 
Alans, and 


THE Roman influence in Spain did not end, even politi 
cally,^ in the year 409, which marked the first successful 
invasion of the peninsula by a Germanic people and the 
beginning of the Visigothic era. The Visigoths themselves 
did not arrive in that year, and did not establish their rule 
over the land until long afterward. Even then, one of the 
principal characteristics of the entire era was the persist 
ence of Roman Civilization. Nevertheless, in spite of the 
f act ^ that the Visigoths left few permanent traces of their 
civilization, they were influential for so long a time in the 
history ^of Spain that it is appropriate to give their name to 
the period elapsing from the first Germanic invasion to the 
beginning of the Moslem conquest. The northern peoples, 
of ^ whom the Visigoths were by far the principal element, 
reinvigorated the peninsula, both by compelling a return to 
a more primitive mode of life, and also by some intermixture 
of blood. They introduced legal, political, and religious 
principles which served in the end only to strengthen the 
Roman civilization by reason of the very combat necessary 
to the ultimate Roman success. The victory of the Roman 
church came b this era, but that of the Roman law and 
government was delayed until the period from the thirteenth 
to the close of the fifteenth century. 

In the opening years of the fifth century the Vandals, who 
had been in more or less hostile contact with the Romans 
during more than two centuries, left their homes within 
modern Hungary, and emigrated, men, women, and children, 
toward the Rhine. With them went the Alans, and a little 



later a group of the Suevians joined them. They invaded 
the region of what is now France, and after devastating it 
for several years passed into Spain in the year 409. There 
seems to have been no effective resistance, whereupon the 
conquerors divided the land, giving Galicia to the Suevians 
and part of the Vandals, and the southern country from 
Portugal to Cartagena to the Alans and another group 
of Vandals. A great part of Spain still remained subject 
to the Roman Empire, even in the regions largely dominated 
by the Germanic peoples. The bonds between Spain and 
the empire were slight, however, for the political strife in 
Italy had caused the withdrawal of troops and a general 
neglect of the province, wherefore the regions not acknowl 
edging Germanic rule tended to become semi-independent 

The more important Visigothic invasion was not long in Wander- 
coming. The Visigoths (or the Goths of the west, to ings of ^ 
distinguish them from their kinsmen, the Ostrogoths, or 
Goths of the east) had migrated in a body from Scandinavia 
in the second century to the region of the Black Sea, and in 
the year 270 established themselves north of the Danube. 
Pushed on by the Huns they crossed that river toward the 
close of the fourth century, and entered the empire, con 
tracting with the emperors to defend it. Their long con 
tact with the Romans had already modified their customs, 
and had resulted in their acceptance of Christianity. They 
had at first received the orthodox faith, but were later con 
verted to the Arian form, which was not in accord with the 
Nicene creed. After taking up their dwelling within the 
empire the Visigoths got into a dispute with the emperors, 
and under their great leader Alaric waged war on them in 
the east. At length they invaded Italy, and in the year 
410 captured and sacked the city of Rome, the first time such 
an event had occurred in eight hundred years. Alaric was 
succeeded by Ataulf , who led the Visigoths out of Italy into 
southern France. There he made peace with the empire, 
being allowed to remain as a dependent ally of Rome in the 
land he had conquered. In all of these wanderings the 
whole tribe, all ages and both sexes, went along. From this 







point as a base the Visigoths made a beginning of the or 
ganization which was to become a powerful independent 
state. There, too, in this very Roman part of the empire, 
they became more and more Romanized. 

The Visigoths were somewhat troublesome allies, for they 
proceeded to conquer southern France for themselves. 
Thereupon, war broke out with the emperor, and it was in 
the course of this conflict that they made their first entry 
into Spain. This occurred in the year 414, when Ataulf 
crossed the Pyrenees and captured Barcelona. Not long 
afterward, Wallia, a successor of Ataulf, made peace with 
the emperor, gaining title thereby to the conquests which 
Ataulf had made in southern France, but renouncing those 
in Spain. The Visigoths also agreed to make war on the 
Suevians and the other Germanic peoples in Spain, on behalf 
of the empire. Thus the Visigoths remained in the penin 
sula, but down to the year 456 made no conquests on their 
own account. Wallia set up his capital at Toulouse, France, 
and it was not until the middle of the sixth century that a 
Spanish city became the Visigothic seat of government. 

The Visigoths continued to be rather uncertain allies 
of the Romans. They did indeed conquer the Alans, and 
reduced the power of the Vandals until in 429 the latter 
people migrated anew, going to northern Africa. The 
Suevians were a more difficult enemy to cope with, however, 
consolidating their power in Galicia, and at one time they 
overran southern Spain, although they were soon obliged 
to abandon it. It was under the Visigothic king Theodoric 
that the definite break with the empire, in 456, took place. 
He not only conquered on his own account in Spain, but also 
extended his dominions in France. His successor, Euric 
(467-485), did even more. Except for the territory of the 
Suevians in the northwest and west centre and for various 
tiny states under Hispano-Roman or perhaps indigenous 
nobles in southern Spain and in the mountainous regions of 
the north, Euric conquered the entire peninsula. He ex* 
tended his French holdings until they reached the river 
Loire. No monarch of western Europe was nearly so 
powerful. The Visigothic conquest, as also the conquests 


by the other Germanic peoples, had been marked by con 
siderable violence, not only toward the conquered peoples 
of a different faith, but also in their dealings with one an 
other. The greatest of the Visigothic kings often ascended 
the throne as a result of the assassination of their prede 
cessors, who were in many cases their own brothers. Such 
was the case with Theodoric and with Euric, and the latter 
was one of the fortunate few who died a natural death. 
This condition of affairs was to continue throughout the 
Visigothic period, supplemented by other factors tending 
to increase the disorder and violence of the age. 

The death of Euric was contemporaneous with the rise Visigothic 
of a new power in the north of France. The Franks, under losses to 
Clovis, were just beginning their career of conquest, and they the Franks 
coveted the Visigothic lands to the south of them. In 496 B^ Z antine 
the Franks were converted to Christianity, but unlike the Romans. 
Visigoths they became Catholic Christians. This fact aided 
them against the Visigoths, for the subject population in 
the lands of the latter was also Catholic. Clovis was there 
fore enabled to take the greater part of Visigothic France, 
including the capital city, in 508, restricting the Visigoths 
to the region about Narbonne, which thenceforth became 
their capital. In the middle of the sixth century a Visigothic 
noble, Athanagild, in. his ambition to become king invited 
the great Roman emperor Justinian (for the empire con 
tinued to exist in the east, long after its dissolution in the 
west in 476) to assist him. Justinian sent an army, through 
whose aid Athanagild attained his ambition, but at the cost 
of a loss of territory to the Byzantine Romans. Aided by 
the Hispano-Romans, who continued to form the bulk of 
the population, and who were attracted both by the im 
perial character and by the Catholic faith of the newcomers, 
the latter were able to occupy the greater part of southern 
Spain. Nevertheless, Athanagild showed himself to be an 
able king, and it was during his reign (554r-567) that a 
Spanish city first became capital of the kingdom, for Athana- 
gUd fixed his residence in Toledo. The next king returned 
to France, leaving his brother, Leovgild, as ruler in Spain. 
On the death of the former in 573 Leovgild became sole ruler, 



and the capital returned to Toledo to remain thereafter in 

Leovgild. Leovgild (573-586) was the greatest ruler of the Visigoths 
in Spain. He was surrounded by difficulties which taxed 
his powers to the utmost. In Spain he was confronted by 
the Byzantine provinces of the south, the Suevian kingdom 
of the west and northwest, and the Hispano-Roman and 
native princelets of the north. All of these elements were 
Catholic, for the Suevians had recently been converted to 
that faith, and therefore might count in some degree on the 
sympathy of Leovgild s Catholic subjects. Furthermore, 
like kings before his time and afterward, Leovgild had to 
contend with his own Visigothic nobles, who, though Arian 
in religion, resented any increase in the royal authority, 
lest it in some manner diminish their own. In particular 
the nobility were opposed to Leovgild s project of making 
the monarchy hereditary instead of elective ; the latter had 
been the Visigothic practice, and was favored by the nobles 
because it gave them an opportunity for personal aggrandize 
ment. The same difficulties had to be faced in France, 
where the Franks were the foreign enemy to be confronted. 
All of these problems were attacked by Leovgild with 
extraordinary military and diplomatic skill. While he held 
back the Franks in France he conquered his enemies in 
Spain, until nothing was left outside his power except two 
small strips of Byzantine territory, one in the southwest 
and the other in the southeast. Internal issues were com 
plicated by the conversion of his son Hermenegild to Cathol 
icism. Hermenegild accepted the leadership of the party 
in revolt against his father, and it was six years before 
Leovgild prevailed. The rebellious son was subsequently 
put to death, but there is no evidence that Leovgild was 

Reccared. Another son, Reccared (586-601), succeeded Leovgild, and 
to him is due the conversion of the Visigoths to Catholic 
Christianity. The mass of the people and the Hispano-Roman 
aristocracy were Catholic, and were a danger to the state, 
not only because of their numbers, but also because of their 
wealth and superior culture. Reccared therefore announced 


Uis conversion (in 587 or 589), and was followed in his 
change of faith by not a few of the Visigoths. This did not 
end internal difficulties of a religious nature, for the Arian 
sect, though less powerful than the Catholic, continued to 
be a factor to reckon with during the remainder of Visi- 
gothic rule. Reccared also did much of a juridical charac 
ter to do away with the differences which separated the 
Visigoths and Hispano-Romans, in this respect following 
the initiative of his father. After the death of Reccared, 
followed by three brief reigns of which no notice need be 
taken, there came two kings who successfully completed the 
Visigothic conquest of the peninsula. Sisebut conquered 
the Byzantine province of the southeast, and Swinthila 
that of the southwest. Thus in 623 the Visigothic kings 
became sole rulers in the peninsula, when already their 
career was nearing an end. 

The last century of the Visigothic era was one of great Last 
internal turbulence, arising mainly from two problems : century pi 
the difficulties in the way of bringing about a fusion of the 
races; and the conflict between the king and the nobility, 
centring about the question of the succession to the throne. 
The first of these was complicated by a third element, the 
Jews, who had come to Spain in great numbers, and had en 
joyed high consideration down to the time of Reccared, but 
had been badly treated thereafter. Neither in the matter 
of race fusion nor in that of hereditary succession were the 
kings successful, despite the support of the clergy. Two 
kings, however, took important steps with regard to the 
former question. Chindaswinth established a uniform code 
for both Visigoths and Hispano-Romans, finding a mean 
between the laws of both. This was revised and improved 
by his son and successor, Recceswinth, and it was this 
code, the Lex Visigothorum (Law of the Visigoths), which 
was to exercise such an important influence in succeeding 
centuries under its more usual title of the Fuero Juzgo. 1 
Nevertheless, it was this same Recceswinth who conceded 

1 This term, characterized by Joaquin Escriche (Diccionario 
razonado de legislacidn y jurisprudenda. Madrid, 1847) as "bar 
barous," is about equivalent to " Charter of the laws." 


to the nobility the right of electing the king. Internal 
disorder did not end, for the nobles continued to war with 
one another and with the king. The next king, Wamba 
(672-680), lent a dying splendor to the Visigothic rule by 
the brilliance of his military victories in the course of various 
civil wars. Still, the only real importance of his reign was 
that it foreshadowed the peril which was to overwhelm 
Spain a generation later. The Moslem Arabs had already 
extended their domain over northern Africa, and in Wamba s 
time they made an attack in force on the eastern coast of 
Spain, but were badly defeated by him. A later invasion 
in another reign likewise failed. 

The The last reigns of the Visigothic kings need not be chron- 

Moslem icled, except as they relate to the entry of the Mohammedans 
conquest. j n ^ o gp am> King Witiza endeavored to procure the throne 
for his son Achila without an election by the nobility, and 
Achila in fact succeeded, but in the ensuinrj civil war Roderic, 
the candidate of the nobility, was successful, being crowned 
king in the year 710. What followed has never been clearly 
ascertained, but it seems likely that the partisans of Achila 
sought aid of the Moslem power in northern Africa, and also 
that the Spanish Jews plotted for a Moslem invasion of 
Spain. At any rate the subsequent invasion found support 
among both of these elements. Once in 709 and again in 
710 Moslem forces had effected minor landings between 
Algeciras and Tarifa, but in 711 the Berber chief Tarik 
landed with a strong army of his own people at Gibraltar, 1 
and marched in the direction of Cadiz. Roderic met him 
at the lake of Janda, 2 and would have defeated him but for 
the treacherous desertion of a large body of his troops who 
went over to the side of Tarik. Roderic was utterly beaten, 
and Tarik pushed on even to the point of capturing Toledo. 
In the next year the Arab Musa came from Africa with 
another army, and took M6rida after an obstinate siege which 
lasted a year. Up to this time the invaders had met with 
little popular resistance; rather they had been welcomed. 
With the fall of M6rida, however, it began to be clear that 

1 Named for him, Gebel-al-Tarik, or hill of Tarik. 

2 Near Medina Sidonia and Vejer. 


they had no intention of leaving the country. At the 
battle of Segoyuela 1 Musa and Tarik together won a com 
plete victory, in which it is believed that Roderic was killed. 
Musa then proceeded to Toledo, and proclaimed the Moslem 
caliph as ruler of the land. 

There were four principal racial elements in the peninsula The family 
in the Visigothic period : the indigenous peoples of varying in Visi- 
grades of culture; the Germanic peoples; the western gothiolaw. 
Roman, which formed a numerous body, more or less com 
pletely Romanized; and the Byzantine Roman, which 
influenced even beyond the Byzantine territories in Spain 
through the support of the clergy. The two last-named 
elements were the most important. The Germanic tribes, 
especially the Visigoths, had already become modified by 
contact with Rome before they reached Spain, and tended 
to become yet more so. The Visigoths reverted to the 
family in the broad sense of all descended from the same 
trunk as the unit of society, instead of following the in 
dividualistic basis of Rome, although individuals had con 
siderable liberty. Members of the family were supposed 
to aid and protect one another, and an offence against one 
was held to be against all. A woman could not marry with 
out the consent of her family, which sold her to the favored 
candidate for her hand. She must remain faithful to her 
husband and subject to his will, but Tie was allowed to have 
concubines. Nevertheless, she had a right to share in 
property earned after marriage, and to have the use of a 
deceased husband s estate, provided she did not marry 
again. A man might make a will, but must leave four-fifths 
of his property to his descendants. Children were subject 
to their parents, but the latter did not have the earlier right 
of life and death, and the former might acquire some property 
of their own. 

The great number of social classes at the close of the Social 
Roman period was increased under the Visigoths, and the classes in 
former inequalities were accentuated, for the insecurity til ^ Y isi " 
of the times tended to increase the grades of servitude and S c era * 
personal dependence. The nobility was at first a closed 
1 Province of Salamanca. 



body, but later became open to anybody important enough 
to enter it. The kings ennobled whomsoever they chose, 
and this was one of the causes of the conflict between them 
and the older nobility. Freemen generally sank back into 
a condition of dependence; in the country they became 
serfs, being bound by inheritance both to the land and to a 
certain type of labor. Freemen of the city, however, were 
no longer required to follow the trade of their fathers. Men 
of a higher grade often became the retainers of some noble, 
pledged to aid him, and he on his part protected them. 
Few were completely free. The Suevians took two-thirds 
of the lands and half of the buildings in the regions they 
conquered, and it is probable that the Visigoths made some 
such division after Euric s conquest, although they seem to 
have taken less in Spain than they did in France. 
Social The Visigoths were not an urban people like the Romans. 

customs. The tendency of this age, therefore, was for a scattering of 
the city populations to the country, where the fortified 
village or the dwelling of a Visigothic noble with his retinue 
of armed followers and servants formed the principal centre. 
The cities therefore remained Hispano-Roman in character, 
and their manner of life was imitated more and more by 
the Visigoths. There was a laxity in customs which went 
so far that priests openly married and brought up families, 
despite the prohibitions of the law. 1 Superstition was prev 
alent in all classes. 2 One of the popular diversions of the 
period seems to have been a form of bull-fighting. 
Royal Before the Visigoths reached Spain the monarchy was 

power elective, but within a certain family. The king s authority 
under the had already increased from that of a general and chief justice 


some thing approaching the absolutism of a Roman em 
peror. With the extinction of the royal family there was 
a long period of strife between rival aspirants for the throne. 

1 The laws themselves furnish numerous indications of the cus 
tomary evils. Doctors, for example, were forbidden to cure women, 
unless in the presence of certain specified persons. It may be added 
that doctors were made responsible by law for the effect of their 

2 One curious superstitious practice was that of celebrating a 
mass for an enemy who was yet alive. It was believed that this 
would accelerate his death. 


LeovgUd was the first to take on all the attributes, even the 
ceremonial, of absolutism, and was one of many kings who 
tried to make the throne hereditary. Despite the support 
given to the kings by the clergy, who hoped for peace through 
enhancing the royal power, the nobles were able to procure 
laws for an elective monarch without limitation to a specified 
family ; an assembly of nobles and churchmen was the elec 
toral body. These conflicts did not modify the absolute 
character of the king s rule; the king had deliberative 
councils to assist him, but since he named the nobles who 
should attend, both appointed and deposed bishops, and in 
any event had an absolute veto, these bodies did no more 
than give sanction to his will. Heads of different branches 
of administration also assisted the king. The real limita 
tion on absolutism was the military power of the nobles. 

For a long time the Visigoths and the Hispano-Romans Visigothic 
had different laws governing their personal relations, al- adminis- 
though in political matters the same law applied to both. tratlon - 
In the case of litigation between Visigoths and Hispano- 
Romans the law of the former applied, with modifications 
which approximated it somewhat to the principles of the 
Roman law. In the eyes of the law these differences dis 
appeared after the legislation of Chindaswinth and Recces- 
winth, but many of them in fact remained as a result of the 
force of custom and the weakness of the central authority. 
In general administration the Visigoths followed the Roman 
model from the first. The land was divided into provinces 
ruled by officials called dukes, while the cities were governed 
by counts. 1 Each had much the same authority under the 
king as the kings had over the land. The Roman provincial 
and municipal councils were retained, and their position 
bettered, since they were not made responsible for the taxes 
as in the last days of the empire. Complex as was this 
system and admirable as it was in theory there was little 
real security for justice, for in the general disorder of the 
times the will of the more powerful was the usual law. 
Taxes were less in amount than in the days of the empire, 
but only the Hispano-Romans were subject to them. 

1 The word "count" was not at that time a title of nobility. 




church in 



The church became very influential after the time of Rec 
cared, but lost in independence, since the kings not only ap 
pointed the higher church officers, but also intervened ir 
matters of ecclesiastical administration, though rarely ir 
those of doctrine. Churchmen had certain privileges 
though fewer than in the last century of Roman rule and 
much fewer than they were to acquire at a later time. Theii 
intervention in political affairs was very great, however, 
due not only to their influence with the masses, but even 
more to their prestige as the most learned men of the time, 
Monasteries increased greatly in number ; at this time they 
were subject to the secular arm of the clergy, for the bishops 
gave them their rule and appointed their -abbots. Religious 
ceremonies were celebrated by what was called the Gothic 
rite, and not after the fashion of Rome, although the pope 
was recognized as head of the church. As regards heresies 
the church had to oppose the powerful Arian sect throughout 
the period and to uproot the remnants of indigenous and 
pagan faiths. 

An agricultural and military people like the Visigoths, in 
an age of war, could not be expected to do much to develop 
industry and commerce. Such as there was of both was 
carried on by some Hispano-Romans and by Greeks and 
Jews. Spain dropped far behind in economic wealth in 
this era. Roman methods were used, however, even in 
the agriculture of the Visigoths. 

Spain also fell back in general culture. Public schools 
disappeared. The church became almost the only resort for 
Christians desirous of an education, but there were Jewish 
academies in which the teachers read from books, and com 
mented on them, the system adopted by the Christian 
universities centuries later. Latin became the dominant 
tongue, while Gothic speech and Gothic writing gradually 
disappeared. The Greek influence was notable, due to the 
long presence of Byzantine rule in southern Spain. The 
writers of the period were in the main churchmen, particu 
larly those of Seville. Orosius of the fifth century, author of 
a general history of a pronouncedly anti-pagan, pro-Christian 
character, was one of the more notable writers of the time. 


By far more important, one of the greatest writers in the 
history of Hispanic literature in fact, was Saint Isidore, Saint 
archbishop of Seville in the early part of the seventh century. Isi( *ore. 
Among his numerous works were the following: a brief 
universal history ; a history of the Visigoths, Vandals, and 
Suevians; lives of illustrious men; an encyclopedia of 
Greco-Roman knowledge; and books of thoughts, of a 
philosophical and juridical character. He represented very 
largely the ideas of the Spanish clergy, and many of the 
principles enunciated by him were later embodied in the 
Fuero Juzgo. He maintained that political power was of 
divine origin, but that the state must protect the church. 
He supported the ideas of hereditary succession and the 
prestige and inviolability of kings as the best means of 
securing peace. 

In architecture the Visigoths followed the Romans, but The fine 
on a smaller and poorer scale. Perhaps the only matter arts - 
worthy of note as regards the fine arts was the presence of 
Byzantine influences, especially marked in the jewelry of 
the period. 


of the 

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 

THE Moslem period in Spanish history is the subject o; 
a number of popular misconceptions. The Moslems an 
believed to have attained to a phenomenally high stage ol 
culture and to have lived in a luxury without parallel at that 
time in the world. While these views are not without truth, 
it is also true that the conquerors never shook themselves 
free from their tribal instincts, and it was not until the tenth 
century that their civilization was well established. Even 
then it was more largely through the efforts of others whom 
they imitated than through innovations of their own that 
they reached their Jiigh estate, which was the natural result 
of their power and wealth, although its ripest fruit was 
reserved for a later period, when much of their political 
authority had passed. Nevertheless, the Moslem occupa 
tion of Spain was on other grounds fully as important for 
Europe as it has usually been regarded, and perhaps more 
important for Spain and Spanish America than has ever 
been stated. As to the first point, it is true that Europe, 
through Moslem Spain, gained a knowledge of classical and 
Byzantine civilization. As to the second, racial elements 
entered the peninsula at this time which have left a deep 
impress on Spanish character, especially on that of the 
Andalusians and through them on Spanish America. The 
later Spanish colonization of the Americas passed almost 
wholly through the ports of Seville and Cddiz, and was 
confined in large measure to Castilians. At that time, how 
ever, Andalusia was considered part of Castile, and it was 
only natural that the Andalusian "Castilians" should have 


MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 39 

been the ones to go. Many present-day Spanish American 
peoples pronounce their language in the Andalusian way, 
although differing in degree of similarity and having certain 
practices peculiar to themselves. In other respects, too, 
one finds Moslem-descended Andalusian traits in the 

The Arabs were a people dwelling in greatest part in that Conver- 
section of western Asia which bears their name. Prior to sion of tlie 
their conversion to Mohammedanism they led a tribal life, ff v* 8 to 

.__ < i 11 Jyi Qfifl/nn- 

not as one great tribe but as many, some of them in settled me danisin. 
fashion, and others in a nomadic way, but all were indepen 
dent one tribe from another and all engaged in endless strife. 
There was no such thing as an Arabic national feeling or 
an Arabic political state. Early in the seventh century 
Mahomet began to preach the faith which he originated, 
a religion of extreme simplicity in its doctrinal beliefs, but 
based very largely on the Jewish and Christian creeds. 
The Mohammedans date their era from the year 622 A.D., 
but it was not until after that time that the Arabs were 
converted to the new religion. Once they did receive it 
they were for a long time its principal sword-bearers, since 
it fitted their fighting spirit and promised rewards which 
suited their pleasure-loving tastes. Most of them, however, 
were not nearly so zealous in their religious beliefs as they 
have at times been regarded ; rather they were too sceptical 
and materialistic a people to be enthusiastic devotees of 
an abstract faith. 

Nevertheless, the Arabs achieved a conquest which was Arabic 
remarkable alike for its extent and for its rapidity. Be- conquests. 
tween 697 and 708 they overran nearly all of Syria and the 
entire northern coast of Africa, including Egypt. For 
their conquests they had formed themselves into a single 
state under the rule of a caliph, who was at the same time 
the head of the church, thus centering political and religious 
authority in one person. The state was divided into prov 
inces, two of which were in northern Africa, Egypt and 
northwestern Africa. This cohesion was more apparent 
than real, for the old tribal jealousies and strife continued, 
accentuated by differences both in religious zeal and in 



of dis 
among the 

Nature of 
the Mos 
lem con 
quest of 

interpretations of the Moslem faith. Of the Arabs who 
entered Spain there were two principal parties, representing 
at the same time religious and tribal animosities, the Sun- 
nites, or Sunnis, who were of Yemenite race, and the Shiites, 
or Shiahs, of Mudarite blood. Their quarrels in Spain, as 
elsewhere in Moslem realms, were a factor which rendered 
difficult the establishment or the maintenance of a strong 
political state. In northwestern Africa the Arabs had 
encountered the Berbers, who had submitted only after 
opposing a determined resistance. The Berbers were by 
nature a devout and democratic people, and once they re 
ceived the Moslem faith they took it up with fanatical 
enthusiasm. They never regarded their conquerors with 
favor, however, and their hatred was intensified by the very 
religious indifference of the Arabs. Here, then, was another 
element of dissension in Spain, for the Berbers took part in 
the conquest along with the Yemenite and Mudarite Arabs. 
The military conquest took seven years (711-718), for 
after the fa>! of M6rida the invaders met with vigorous, if 
also unorganized, resistance. In characteristic fashion the 
Spanish peoples fought in guerrilla bands or defended their 
own towns with desperate courage, but did not aid one 
another. Some nobles made terms whereby they were 
allowed to retain their estates, but the majority of them 
opposed the conquerors. Except for narrow strips in the 
mountain regions of northern Spain the entire peninsula 
had been overrun by the year 718, at which time the Moslem 
armies crossed the Pyrenees into southern France. Spain 
was organized as a district ruled by an emir under the 
governor of the province of Africa, who was in turn subject 
to the Moslem caliph. The bond uniting Spain to Africa 
was not in fact very tightly drawn, for the Spanish Moslems 
acted in the main with complete independence of the gov 
ernor of Africa. The conquerors did not usually insist on 
the conversion of the Spanish peoples (although there were 
exceptions to the rule), preferring usually to give them the 
option of accepting the Mohammedan faith or of paying a 
poll tax in addition to the taxation on Moslems and Christians 
alike. Many of the Arabs opposed the conversion of the 

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 41 

Christians, since the continuance of the latter in their own 
religion meant a lighter financial burden upon the Moslems. 
Since, also, the conquerors were outnumbered, they often 
found it wise to grant the Spanish peoples a right to retain 
their faith. In fine the conquest was not a matter of re 
ligious propaganda, but rather was one of a more or less 
systematic pillage. 

The lands of the Visigothic state, the Christian church, Division 
emigrating nobles, and those who resisted were confiscated, of tlie 
but individuals who submitted, even nobles (and in some ^ on Q. uere d 
cases monasteries), had their estates restored to them in 
whole or in part, subject to the usual taxation. A fifth of 
the confiscated lands were taken by the state, and the rest 
were distributed among the soldiers and the chiefs of the 
Moslem armies. The state holdings were re-allotted to 
Spanish serfs, who were required to pay a third of the 
produce to the government, being allowed to keep the rest 
for themselves. The Berbers were given lands in the north, 
while the Arabs took the more fertile south. These lands, 
too, were given over to serfs on much the same terms as 
those granted by the state. The mass of the people were 
not greatly disturbed. Indeed, the agricultural laborer 
advanced economically, because requirements were lighter 
than formerly, and, also, since the lands were divided among 
a great many proprietors, the evil of the vast estates which 
had existed formerly was for the time being corrected. 
Slaves profited by the conquest, in part because they were Religious 
better treated, but also in that they might become free by effects of 
the mere act of conversion to Mohammedanism if they were con " 
slaves of Christians or Jews. A great many Christians 
became Mohammedans, some of them to escape slavery, 
others to avoid the poll tax, and still others from sincere 
belief, and they came to form an important class of the 
Moslem world, called " Renegades/ or renegades, by the 
Christians, and "Muladies" by themselves. The conquest 
weighed more heavily on the Christian church, although, 
indeed, it was allowed to remain in existence. The church 
had to experience the curious practice of having its bishops 
named or deposed and its councils called by the Moslem 


caliph or his representative. The Jews gained more than 
any other element. The harsh Visigothic laws were re 
pealed and Jews were employed in government and adminis 
tration as allies of the conquerors. 

Civil wars. The Moslem invasion of France was carried on with vary 
ing success for several years. In 732 occurred the so-called 
battle of Tours, in fact fought near Poitiers, when Charles 
Martel and a Prankish army defeated the Moslems. It 
was not this battle which caused the retreat of the invaders 
from France, but rather a civil war in Spain eight years 
later, necessitating a return to the peninsula. The Berbers 
of Africa had risen in revolt against their Arabic rulers, and 
had defeated both them and a Syrian force sent to the latter s 
assistance. Thereupon the Spanish Berbers rose as well. 
For a time they were successful, but the emir was able 
finally to subdue them, being aided by the Syrian army in 
Africa, which he had induced to come to Spain. Then 
followed a terrible war between the Syrians and the emir, 
because the promises to the former had not been fulfilled. 
The struggle ended with a grant of some of the state lands 
in southern Spain to the Syrians, who were to receive the 
government s third of the produce, but not the title to the 
lands. Shortly afterward there was another civil war, this 
time between the Shiite and Sunnite Arabs, caused by the 
harsh treatment of the former by a Sunnite governor. The 
war lasted eleven years, being then given a new turn by the 
intervention of a man who was to play an important part 
in the history of the period- 
Coming of Other parts of the Moslem world had been afflicted by 
Abd-er- the same sort of internal strife as that which was occurring 
Rataiaa i n Spain. In particular there was a dynastic struggle, 
o Spain, whjeh resulted in the dethronement of the caliphs of the 
Ommayad family and in the rise to power of the Abbasside 
caliphs. The Ommayads were ordered to be put to death, 
but one of them, a youth named Abd-er-Rahman, contrived 
to escape. He took refuge successively in Egypt and north 
western Africa, and in 755 came to Spain with the object 
of establishing himself there. This he w r as able to do, 
though nat without a struggle, setting himself up as emir 

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 43 

with his capital in Cordova, and proclaiming his indepen 
dence of the caliph. 

The entire reign of Abd-er-Rahman I (755-788) was one Abd-er- 
of war. He had to fight the Yemenite (Sunnite) Arabs, Rahman] 
the Berbers, and many chiefs of various tribes, as well as 
the governors sent out by the Abbassides, before his author 
ity was recognized. His ideal was that of an absolute 
monarchy which should bring to an end the aristocratic 
independence and anarchy in Spain, but in order to accom 
plish this he had to combat Arabic tradition and pride, Berber 
democracy, and inter-tribal hatred. Abd-er-Rahman was 
at least able to subject his opponents if not to change them. 
It was during his reign that the Frankish king Charlemagne 
invaded Spain and got as far as Saragossa. Obliged by 
events in France to recross the Pyrenees he was attacked 
by the Basques in the pass of Roncesvalles, and his rear 
guard was completely destroyed. It was this event which 
gave rise to the celebrated French epic poem, the Chanson 
de Roland (Song of Roland), in which the Frankish hero 
Roland is supposed to combat the forces of Islam. No 
Mohammedan forces in fact engaged in the battle, for the 
Basques were Christians ; they were then, as later, opposed 
to any foreign army which should invade their lands. 

Hisham I, the next emir, was not free from wars, but his Internal 
reign was more notable in its religious aspects. He was a strife, 
devout Mohammedan, and enabled the religious class to 
attain to great power. His successor, Hakem I, was a 
sincere believer, but did not refrain from drinking wine, 
thus breaking the religious law, and he conceded less in 
fluence in the government to the church than his father 
had. This led to several uprisings, in which the Renegados 
were a principal element. Hakem subdued them, and exiled 
many thousands, most of them Renegados, who went to 
different parts of northern Africa and Egypt. Another 
serious revolt broke out in Toledo, which had been enjoying 
virtual independence, though nominally subject to the emir. 
The citizens of Toledo were most of them Renegados, but 
they were also Spanish, and were unable to forget that 
Toledo had once been the capital cf Spain. Hakem resolved 


to bring them Into real subjection, and was able to effect Ms 
will. Seven years later, In 829, when Abd-er-Rahman II 
was emir ? the people of Toledo revolted again, and It took 
eight years to subdue them. War and disorder were also 
prevalent in other parts of the realm. The Inhabitants of 
Merida, who were Christians, rose several times ; in Murcia 
there was a seven years* war between the Sunnites and 
Shiites. At this time, too, the Normans began to attack 
the coasts of Spain just as they were doing in other parts of 
Europe. They made no permanent conquest, but rendered 
the coasts unsafe during the greater part of the century. 
Toward the close of the ninth century the emirate began to 
break under the strain of constant war* After repeated 
rebellions the city of Toledo formed itself into a republic, 
and on the basis of an annual tribute to the emir was recog 
nized by the latter, who had no other right there. In 
Aragon the Vislgothlc but Renegado family of Benl-Casi 
founded an independent kingdom. A similar kingdom 
sprang up in Extremadura, and another in the mountains 
of southern Spain. Meanwhile, the Christian kingdoms 
were making gains. Except for them the new states were 
usually made up of Renegados. They did not work to 
gether, however, or the Arabic domination might have been 
completely broken: rather, each little state followed a 
selfish policy of Its own. The most important was that of 
Omar-ben Hafsun In the south. Omar founded his kingdom 
in 884, with his capital at the castle of Bobastro. In 886 
the emir attacked him, and for more than thirty years there 
after there was war between Omar and the emirs of Cordova. 
Omar was usually successful, acquiring nearly all of Anda 
lusia, but his political plans illustrate the lack of a truly 
Spanish Ideal in the kingdoms carved out of the emirate. 
At first he planned only a tiny kingdom of his own; later 
he aimed to get the governor of Africa to appoint him emir 
of Spain; finally he became converted to Christianity, and 
resolved to wage a religious war, whereupon his Renegado 
followers abandoned him. During the same period civil 
wars of a racial nature broke out In other parts of Spain 
between the Arabic aristocracy and the Renegados, especially 

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 45 

around the cities of Elvira and Seville. The Arabs despised 
the Renegades, who were at this time the principal industrial 
and commercial class, especially in Seville, and envied their 
wealth. Many Arabic chiefs also refused obedience to the 
emirs. For a time the aristocratic party was successful, 
inflicting great blows on the Renegados, and increasing their 
own estates, but in the reign of Abdallah, early in the ninth 
century, they received a check. The same Abdallah in 
flicted a crushing defeat on King Omar. Thus the way was 
prepared for Abdallah s successor, Abd-er-Rahman III, 
who was to establish peace in Spain after two centuries of 
almost continuous disorder. 

Abd-er-Rahman III (912-961) was by far the greatest Abd-er- 
ruler in the history of Moslem Spain. His first problem Rahman 
was the establishment of the central power. Within a few IIJ 
years he had reduced not only the Renegado states of 
Toledo, Aragon, Extremadura, and Bobastro but also the 
aristocratic Arabs and the Berber chiefs in various parts of 
Spain. He then changed his title from that of emir to caliph, 
thus signifying his intention of maintaining a robust absolute 
monarchy. He also drove back the Christian kings in the 
north, after which he proceeded to cultivate friendly re 
lations with them. Even the Moslem province in north 
western Africa fell under his sway. In administrative 
matters as well Abd-er-Rahman III proved his ability. Not 
only did he create a great army but he also increased the 
strength of the navy (which the emirs before him had al 
ready founded) until it became the most powerful fleet in 
the Mediterranean Sea. Spain was recognized as the 
greatest state in Europe, and in western Europe it was also 
the centre of the highest culture. Through the caliph s 
measures agriculture, industry, and commerce, and educa 
tion, literature, and the fine arts developed to a high point, 
and Cordova became a city of half a million inhabitants. 

Hakem II (961-976) continued his father s policy in all Almansor. 
respects, but was able to devote even more attention to 
intellectual activities. In military affairs the next reign, 
that of Hisham II (976-1013), was particularly brilliant, 
but it was not the caliph who directed affairs. In the time 



of the 

of Hakem II a certain Mahomet-ben-Abdallah-abu-Amir 

had attracted the attention and won the heart of the caliph s 
favorite wife. Through her aid he became the chief minis 
ter of Hisham II, who was a minor at the time of his suc 
cession. Hisham was soon put aside by Mahomet, who 
sequestered the caliph in the palace, and ruled in the name 
of the virtually deposed monarch. Mahomet was principally 
famous for his victories, on account of which he was called 
Alraansor, meaning "the aided of God," or "the victorious 
by divine favor." He reorganized the army, making it a 
machine which was not only efficient in a military way but 
also personally devoted to him. Then in repeated campaigns 
he defeated the Christian kings of the northwest and north 
east, reducing the greater part of their territories to his 
authority, and making himself arbiter in the kingdoms which 
were allowed to exist. 

Almansor died in 1002, but the military supremacy of 
the Moslem state was sustained by his son Abdul Malik, 
who succeeded as chief minister and virtual ruler. The 
latter did not live long, however, being followed in authority 
by another son of Almansor, who was not so fortunate in 
his rule. The Moslem nobles were hostile to the military 
absolutism of the Almansor family, chiefly, no doubt, be 
cause of the usual intractability of the aristocracy, but also 
because the military element, composed of Berbers and 
foreigners of all descriptions, even slaves (who might be 
powerful generals), had become the most important in the 
country. Civil wars broke out, therefore, and they resulted 
in the fall of the Almansor family, in 1009. The wars con 
tinued, however, between the generals of Almansor s army 
and the various pretenders to the caliphate (even though 
Hisham was alive during part of the time and was believed 
to be living for many years after he had probably died or 
been put to death). In 1027, the last of the Ommayads, 
Hisham III, became caliph, but in 1031 was deposed. 
Thenceforth, no one was able to make good a claim to the 
throne ; Moslem Spain fell apart into a number of indepen 
dent units, and the caliphate came to an end. 

Although the differences in social status were much the 

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 47 

same in Moslem Spain as in other parts of Europe, there were Social 
added complications, owing to the differences of race and classes in _ 
religion. There were the usual gradations of aristocracy, Moslem 
freemen, freedmen, and slaves, but the real aristocracy pam " 
was the Arabic. This was nearly destroyed in the time of 
Abd-er-Rahman III, and a new aristocracy of soldiers and 
merchants took its place. Prior to that time both the 
Arabic and Berber nobility had gone on increasing their 
holdings until they had attained vast estates, and it was 
perhaps on this account that they lived for the most part 
in the country, leaving the cities to the Renegades and 
"Mozarabes," as the Christians living under Moslem rule 
were called. The Renegados were an especially important 
element in the population, both industrially and intellec 
tually, but were despised by the other groups ; indeed, many 
were descendants of slaves. The Mozdrabes usually lived 
in a separate district, and were allowed to govern themselves 
to some extent, having law courts and some administrative 
officials of their own. In daily life they mixed freely with 
the Moslem population. The old differences between the 
Hispano-Roman and Visigothic Christians were maintained 
for a time, but seem at length to have passed away. The 
Mozarabes were allowed to retain their Christian worship, 
and as a rule were not persecuted, although frequently in 
sulted by lower class Moslems. Late in the ninth century, 
especially in the reign of Mahomet I, there was a period of 
persecution, caused very largely by the excessive zeal of 
some of the Christians. The law inflicted the penalty of 
death on anybody who publicly cursed the founder of the 
Mohammedan faith, wherefore a number of Christians, 
already exasperated by certain harsh measures of the emir, 
began to seek martyrdom by cursing the prophet. A Chris 
tian church council disapproved of this practice, but it con 
tinued and was later sanctioned by the church, which 
canonized many of the martyrs. The Jews were another 
important element, not only in administration, but also in 
commerce and in general culture. Cordova became the 
world s centre for Jewish theological studies. In all of this 
period the Jews were well treated. 


Status of A Mohammedan was allowed to have as many as four 
women, wives and a greater number of concubines, all together 
forming the particular individual s harem. The wives were 
subject to their husbands, but were not without rights. 
The first wife was privileged to forbid her husband s taking 
concubines or additional wives without her consent, although 
it is doubtful if the right was generally exercised. Possibly 
a wife s most important powers were those having to do 
with property, coupled with her privilege of bringing suit at 
law without the previous consent of her husband. Children 
of legally taken concubines, even if the latter were slaves, 
were held to be legitimate and free. Women enjoyed more 
liberty than they are commonly supposed to have had, being 
privileged, for example, to visit freely with their relatives. 
The Arabs were very fond of music and dancing, and took 
delight in licentious poetry. Not a little of the pleasure-lov 
ing character of this race survives today in southern Spain. 
Methods Much has been said already with regard to the general 
of warfare, administration of the Moslem realm, which was not greatly 
different from that of the Visigothic kingdom preceding it. 
As for the Moslem armies they were not so superior in or 
ganization when they entered Spain as their rapid conquests 
might lead one to suppose. They were nothing more than 
tribal levies, each group marching with its chief as leader. 
Campaigns were also managed in a somewhat haphazard 
fashion, for the Moslem troops went forth to war when the 
tasks of harvest time did not require their presence at 
home. Many expeditions were made with no idea of mili 
tary conquest; rather they were for the sake of destroying 
an enemy s crops or securing plunder, after which the army 
would return, satisfied with what it had done. The Moslem 
rulers gradually began to surround themselves with special 
troops, and, finally, Almansor abolished the tribal levy, 
and formed regiments without regard to tribe. As for 
Moslem Moslem law the Koran was at the same time a book of holy 
law. writ and one of civil law. This was supplemented by the 

legislation of the caliphs, but there was always more or less 
confusion between law and religion. There was never a 
formal code. 

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 49 

Attention has already been called to the difference in Religion in 
the religious fervor of the Moslem tribes. Many of the Moslem 
Arabs even went so far as to deny the existence of God, Spain, 
although the vast body of them, perhaps, were indifferent- 
ists. The Berbers and the mass of the people generally were 
very enthusiastic Mohammedans, so that it was unsafe to 
express one s opinions contrary to the faith or even to engage 
openly in certain philosophical studies, for these were re 
garded as heretical. Among the religious themselves there 
were varying interpretations of the Koran and differences 
of rite. Religious toleration existed to such an extent that 
not only were the Mozarabes allowed to retain their churches, 
their priesthood, and their councils, but also some of their 
holy days were celebrated by Christians and Moslems alike. 
There was one instance where the same building served as 
a Mohammedan mosque and a Christian church. Chris 
tian clergymen from foreign lands frequently visited Moslem 
Spain, while native churchmen went forth from the caliphate 
to travel in the Christian countries, returning later to the 

In the tenth century Moslem Spain came to be one of the The 
richest and most populous lands in Europe. The wealth ^ ea * til * 
of Cordova was astounding, although some allowance has r ova * 
to be made for the exaggerations of the chroniclers. At 
one time the Moslem capital was said to have 200,000 
houses, 600 mosques, and 900 bath-houses, besides many 
public buildings. It was well paved, had magnificent 
bridges across the Guadalquivir, and contained numerous 
palaces of the caliphs and other great functionaries. The 
most famous of all was that of Az-Zahra, which was a palace 
and town in one, erected by Abd-er-Rahman III for one of 
his wives. The great mosque of Cordova, which is in use 
today as a Catholic cathedral, was equally luxurious. This 
was begun in the reign of Abd-er-Rahman I, and was con 
tinued and enlarged by later Moslem rulers. It came to 
have nineteen aisles one way, and thirty another, with 
twenty-one gates, and 1293 columns of porphyry and jasper 
with gilded capitals. In its adornment it was a wealth of 
marble, silver, and precious stones. Travellers came to 



Cordova from all parts of the world, but it is worthy of note 
as an evidence of the lack of complete security, even in the 
greatest days of the caliphate, that it was the practice to 
come in great bodies, for the roads were infested with bandits. 
One measure of the advance of Moslem Spain is in the 
revenues of the government, which were eighteen times 
greater in the reign of Abd-er-Rahman III than they were 
Economic in the reign of Abd-er-Rahman I. 1 This wealth depended 
prosperity, on economic well-being, which was especially in evidence 
in the tenth century. The Arabs were not innovators in 
agriculture, but they had already learned much from others, 
and they assimilated Hispano-Roman and Mozarabic 
methods, with the result that Spain became richer in this 
regard than she had ever been before. They introduced 
rice, sugar, and several other products which had not previ 
ously been cultivated in Spain, and made use of irrigation 
in Granada, Murcia, and Valencia. Stock-raising, mining, 
and manufacturing were also extensively carried on. As a 
natural result of all this activity there was a like develop 
ment of commerce. The principal part of Abd-er-Rahman 
Ill s revenues proceeded from import and export duties. 
It is worthy of note that there was a considerable traffic 
not only in slaves but also in women, such was Arabic 
character. Seville was perhaps the most important port. 
Through the medium of commerce Spain came into close 
contact with the Moslem East and with the Byzantine 
Greeks. As a result of the mathematical problems involved 
in trade it is believed that the Arabs introduced into Europe 
the very important cipher, or zero, which they on their part 
had received from India. 

Languages. Not only Arabic and Latin but many other languages as 
well were spoken in Moslem Spain ; the Berber, for example, 
was independent of either of the two first-named. Despite 
the predominatingly Latin character of the eventual Spanish 
tongue the Arabic influence upon it was great, not so 

L The figures are 300,000 and 5,408,000 dinars respectively, or 
roughly $700,000 and $12,600,000. It is of course impossible to 
reckon the comparative purchasing power of a dinar then and its 
equivalent today, although it was no doubt much greater then ? 
hence, the above figures have only a relative value. 

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031 51 

much in words as in forms and idioms of speech. There Education, 
were Moslem schools of a private character, but there was 
no public school system. The caliphs often brought learned 
men to their court, but it was the religious who more than 
any others devoted themselves to education. There were 
few Moslems who could not read or write, and in this re 
spect Spain was in advance of the rest of western Europe. 
Women, far from being excluded from education, were 
taught the same branches as the men, and often became 
notable both in literature and in scientific studies. 

The Arabs introduced the industrially manufactured Intellec- 
paper of the orient instead of using the parchment or papyrus tnial 
of the Romans. This greatly lowered the cost of books, and ^hiev** 
led to an increase in productivity, facilitating both literary men s " 
and scientific studies. Although philosophy and astronomy 
were so strongly opposed by the common people and the 
priestly class of the Moslems that their study was at times 
forbidden by the government, 1 they were a fruitful topic in 
the education and researches of the upper classes. One of 
the greatest glories of Arabic civilization was the transmis 
sion of Greek culture to western Europe, for the Arabs had 
become acquainted with the works of the Greeks, while 
western Europe had almost completely forgotten them. 
Nevertheless, Moslem Spain was to be more important in 
this respect in the period following the downfall of the 
caliphate. Mathematics and medicine did not meet with 
popular and religious opposition, and in both of these sciences 
the Arabs achieved notable results. Polite literature, how 
ever, and especially poetry, was the most favored intellectual 
medium. Poetry had been cultivated by the Arabs while 
they were yet in their crude tribal stage. It was not unusual 
for challenges to personal combat or declarations of war to 
be written in poetry. Books of science, even, made their 
appearance in verse, and the improvisation of poetry was 
a general practice. The most favored subject-matter illus 
trates a pronounced trait in Arabic character, for amorous 
themes of an immoral order accorded best with Arabic 

1 Almansor burned great numbers of philosophical works so as 
to win the favor of the Mohammedan priesthood. 


The fine taste. The Spanish Moslems were not notable in painting 
a^ 3 and sculpture, but distinguished themselves in architecture 

and the industrial arts. Perhaps the most important feature 
of their cultivation of these arts was the introduction of 
Byzantine influences. They made use of the dome and of 
the elaborate decoration of flat surfaces (especially of walls) 
with arabesques, so named because of their profuse employ 
ment in Arabic work. In addition they painted their build 
ings in brilliant and variegated colors. They rarely built 
in stone, preferring brick, plaster, and adobe. The mosque 
was the principal example of their architecture. In that 
and in their civil edifices they made use of one feature, not 
unlike that of the Roman house, which has survived in 
Spain, the enclosed court, or patio, surrounded by arcades, 
Narrow with a fountain in the centre. Streets were narrow, both 
streets. w ith a view to provide shade against the heat of the sun, 
and also because of the necessities of space, so that the city 
might be contained within its walls. 



ONE of the popular misconceptions of the Moslem period Fitful 
Jn the history of Spain is that the Christians began a holy character 
war almost from the time of the Moslem invasion, and con- Christian 
tinued to gain in fervor and in power, step by step, until at recon . 
length they took Granada in 1492. In fact religious en- quest, 
thusiasm and national conquest alike were fitful and spas 
modic, and very little progress was made in the period of the 
emirs and caliphs. 

It has usually been held, although the matter is in dispute, The king- 
that the Visigoths resisted the invaders continuously at < ** n * 
only one point in Spain, in Asturias. In the mountains s unas * 
of Asturias there gathered various nobles of the centre and 
south of Spain, a number of bishops, and the remains of 
the defeated Christian armies, and, aided perhaps by the 
natives of that land, they prepared to make a stand against 
the Moslems. On the news of the death of Roderic they 
elected a certain Pelayo as his successor, and it is this king 
who is customarily regarded as the founder of the Spanish 
monarchy. Pelayo fixed his capital at Cangas de Onis, and 
is believed to have maintained amicable relations with the 
Moslems for a while, perhaps paying them tribute, and 
possibly even making a visit to Cordova. Hostilities broke 
out again, however, and in the year 718 Pelayo and his 
partisans won a victory in the valley of Covadonga. Com- Cova- 
ing as it did after several years of defeats this achievement 
attained to a renown which was far greater than the merits 
of the actual battle, and in later years legendary accounts 
made the combat itself assume extraordinary proportions. 



It has usually been taken as marking the beginning of the 
Christian reconquests, and it is said that Pelayo became 
king in consequence of the battle, when in fact he was 
elected several years before. The battle of Covadonga did 
secure eastern Asturias to the Christians, which was its 
immediate result. Aside from that tiny kingdom there is 
no proof that there were any independent Christian states 
in Spain, although it is probable that there were several 
in the other mountainous parts of the north. 

The ad- Since the invaders respected the religion and customs of 

vance of the conquered, the war of the Christian kingdom of Asturias 
the As- against them did not at first have a religious or even a racial 
frontier character. It was a war of the nobles and clergy for the 
reconquest of their landed estates and of the king for the 
restoration of his royal authority over the peninsula. The 
little Asturian kingdom was like the old Visigothic state in 
miniature; for example, there were the struggles between 
the nobility and the crown for precisely the same objects 
as formerly. For a century the history of Asturias reduced 
itself primarily to these quarrels. Nevertheless, the Moslem 
frontier tended to withdraw from the far northwest, not 
that the Moslems were forced out by the Christians, but 
possibly because their own civil wars drew them together 
in the centre and south, or because their numbers were not 
great enough to make them seek the less desirable lands in 
the northwest. The frontier became fixed south of the 
Douro along a line running through Coimbra, Coria, Talavera, 
Toledo, Guadalajara, and Pamplona, although the last- 
named place was not long retained. It cannot be said that 
the Christians took a conscious offensive until the eleventh 
century. In this period, despite the internal dissension of 
the Moslem state, the Christian frontier did not pass the 
Guadarrama Mountains even at the most favorable moments, 
leaving Aragon and central and southern Spain in the enemy s 
hands. The line of the Douro was far from being held 
consistently, as witness the conquests of Abd-er-Rahman 
III and Almansor. 

The only notable kings of Asturias in the century follow 
ing the death of Pelayo (737) were Alfonso I "the Catholic" 


(739-757) and Alfonso II "the Chaste" (791-842). Both Alfonso I 
made successful campaigns against the Moslems, although an( * Al- 
their principal importance was that they brought back many fonso II - 
Mozarabes from the temporarily conquered regions, and 
these helped to populate the north. To assure his power 
Alfonso II sought an alliance with the Holy Roman Em 
peror, Charlemagne, and with his son, Louis the Pious. 
It is this which gave rise to the legend of Bernardo del 
Carpio, who is said to have compelled the king to forbear 
making treaties with foreign rulers which lowered the dignity 
of the Spanish people. Some writers have found in this 
supposed incident (for the figure of Bernardo is a later in 
vention) an awakening sense of nationalism, but it seems 
rather to reflect the traditional attitude of the nobility 
lest the king become too strong for them, for real patriotism 
did not exist. The two Alfonsos did much to reorganize 
their kingdom internally, and Alfonso the Chaste moved 
the capital to Oviedo. In his reign, too, there occurred a 
religious event of great importance, the finding of what 
was believed to be the tomb and body of the apostle Santiago Santiago 
(Saint James) in northwestern Galicia. The site was made <ie Com- 
the seat of a bishopric, and a village grew up there, named 
Santiago de Compostela. Compostela became a leading 
political and industrial factor in the Christian northwest, 
but was far more important as a holy place of the first grade, 
ranking with Jerusalem, Rome, and Loreto. Thenceforth, 
bands of pilgrims not only from Spain but also from all 
parts of the Christian world came to visit the site, and, 
through them, important outside influences began to filter 
into Spain. More noteworthy still was the use of the story 
of the miraculous discovery to fire the Christian warriors 
with enthusiasm in their battles against the Moslems, es 
pecially at a later period, when the war entered upon more 
of a crusading phase. 

The people of the mountains of Navarre were of Basque Beginnings 
race, and seem to have maintained a more or less unorganized o f 
freedom from political subjection for many years before a * 
definite state was formed. They opposed both the Prankish 
kings and the Moslem emirs, and for a long time the former 




of the 



Two cen 
turies of 
scant prog 
ress in 

were their principal enemy. At length they established 
their independence of both. In these wars the kingdom of 
Navarre almost certainly had its origin, but at an uncertain 
date. Tradition makes Inigo Arista one of the early kings, 
or chiefs, but the first name definitely to appear is that of 
Sancho Garcia in the tenth century (905-925). The found 
ing of an independent state in Aragon was due to the same 
causes; indeed, Aragon and Navarre were assigned a com- 
mon origin in the legends of the period. Aragon was ab 
sorbed by Navarre, however, possibly toward the end of 
the tenth century. 

Catalonia had been overrun by the Moslems when they 
entered Spain, but between 785 and 811 the Prankish kings 
were able to reconquer that region, establishing a province 
there which they called the Spanish Mark. This section 
was at first ruled by a number of counts, independent of each 
other, but subject to the kings of the Franks. Catalan sub 
mission to the latter did not endure through the ninth 
century. Wifredo, count of Barcelona, is believed to have 
established his independence as early as 874, although that 
event is doubtful; at any rate the separation from the 
Prankish kingdom was not much longer delayed. Each 
count was lord unto himself, although the counts of Barcelona 
were recognized as the greatest among them. Indeed, in 
the entire breadth of northern Spain each unit labored 
for its own selfish ends. Christians fought Moslems, but 
also fought other Christians. Owing to the disorder of 
the Moslem realm, however, the Catalan counts, like the 
other Christian rulers, were able to make some territorial 

For nearly two centuries after the death of Alfonso II, 
or until the fall of the Moslem caliphate, very little progress 
was made by the kings of Oviedo and Leon, which latter city 
had become the capital of the Christian kingdom in the 
northwest early in the tenth century. There was a marked 
opposition between the Asturian-Leonese and the Galician 
parts of the realm, and the Galician nobles maintained 
almost continuous war with the kings. Similarly the counts 
of the frontier often acted like petty sovereigns, or even 


joined with the Moslems against their own compatriots. 
So, too, there were contests for the throne, and neither side 
hesitated to call in Moslem aid. Some kings achieved con 
quests of temporary moment against the Moslems; for 
example, Alfonso III "the Great" (866-909) added con 
siderably to his territories in a period of marked weakness 
in the caliphate, but was obliged to abdicate when his sons 
and even his wife joined in rebellion against him ; the king 
dom was then divided among three sons, who took respec 
tively Leon, Galicia and Lusitania, and Asturias, leaving to 
the king the town of Zamora alone. Then followed the 
caliphate of Abd-er-Rahman III, when the Christian king 
doms, except Galicia, were most of the time subject in fact 
to the Moslem state, although allowed to govern themselves. 
To the usual quarrels there was added a new separatist Theinde- 
tendency, more serious than that of Galicia had been, pendence 
This proceeded from the eastern part of the kingdom in a of Castile - 
region which came to be called Castile because of the nu 
merous castles there, due to its situation on the Moslem 
frontier. The counts of Castile, centering around Burgos, 
had repeatedly declined to obey the kings of Oviedo and 
Leon, for example, when they were called to serve in 
the royal armies. During the reign of Ramiro II (930- 
950), Count Fern&n Gonzalez united the Castilians under 
his standard, and after repeated wars was able to make 
Castile independent of the king of Leon. The reign of Sancho 
Sancho "the Fat" is typical of the times. Sancho became the 
king of Leon in 955, but was soon dethroned by his nobles, 
who alleged among other things that because of his corpu 
lence he cut a ridiculous figure as a king. Sancho went to 
the court of Abd-er-Rahman III, and got not only a cure for 
fatness but also a Moslem army. Aided, too, by the Chris 
tian kingdom of Navarre he was able to regain his throne. 
He had promised to deliver certain cities and castles to the 
caliph, but did not do so until compelled to by the next 
caliph, Hakem. Civil wars between the nobles and the 
crown continued, and many of the former joined with 
Moslem Almansor in his victorious campaigns against their 
coreligionists and their king. 


Advance of When the caliphate began to totter, following the deaths 
the Chris- O f Almansor and Abdul Malik, the Christian kings returned 
tian states to the conques t. Alfonso V (994-1027) of Leon and his 
deve^th ^k Sancho "the Great" (970-1035) of Navarre pushed 
century- their frontiers southward, Alfonso crossing the Douro in 
Portugal. The counts of Castile, too, now aiding one 
Moslem, faction, now another, now remaining neutral, 
profited by each new agreement to acquire additional 
territory or fortified posts. Shortly after the death of 
Sancho the Alfonso V, Sancho the Great intervened successfully in the 
Great. wars O f the Christian kingdoms, and united Castile and 
Leon under his authority. Since he was also king in Navarre, 
Aragon, and the Basque provinces of France and Spain, 
only Galicia, where the kings of Leon took refuge, and the 
counties of Catalonia remained free from his rule in the 
north. Here seemed to be an important moment in the 
history of Spain, one which might have had tremendous 
consequences. But it was as yet too early, not alone for 
Spanish nationalism, but even for the conception of a 
Spanish state. Sancho the Great undid his own work, and 
consigned himself to a place only a little short of oblivion 
by dividing his kingdom among his sons. The three most 
important regions resulting from this act were the kingdoms 
of Navarre, Castile, and Aragon. The death of Sancho in 
1035 is an important date, however, for it marks the time 
when work had to be begun over again to achieve the distant 
ideal of the unity of Spain. Meanwhile, the counts of 
Barcelona, who had lost their territories in the days of 
Almansor, regained them in the ensuing decline of the 
caliphate, whether by military conquest, or by intervention 
in the wars of the Moslem state in return for concessions. 
The important year 1035 is notable also in Catalonia, for 
at that time Ramon Berenguer I, the first outstanding figure 
among the counts of Barcelona, inherited the rule of the 

Except in times of war, relations between the Christian 
and Moslem peoples were even cordial and intimate. They 
visited one another s countries, aided one another in civil 
wars, engaged in commerce, and even contracted mixed 


marriages, not only among people of the lower classes, but Inter- 
also among those of the highest rank, even to that of royalty, relations 
Mohammedan law did not require the conversion of Chris- p,* 
tian wives, but many of the latter embraced the Moslem ^ lfltian 
faith, with the consent, too, of their families. Although Moslem 
there were instances of Mohammedan women marrying peoples. 
Christians, the reverse was usually the case, for the con 
querors did not bring their families as had the earlier Ger 
manic invaders. Religious differences were not an insuper 
able barrier in this period : there was scarcely a war confined 
to Christians on the one side and Mohammedans on the 
other ; the Mozarabes were not greatly molested within the 
Moslem state; Christians were often employed in adminis 
trative capacities by the emirs and caliphs; and Christian 
mercenaries, many of them Spaniards, fought in the Moslem 
armies. ^ It was only natural, therefore, that the neighboring 
Arabic civilization should have exercised not a little influence 
on Christian Spain, especially since the power and wealth 
of the caliphate were so much greater than in the kingdoms 
of the north. In intellectual aspects for example, in 
philosophy and science the Arabic influence was to be 
greater at a succeeding time, but in political and military 
matters and in language much passed over to the Christians 
in this period. In like manner the Spanish peoples reacted 
upon the invaders, but this was confined principally to the 
effects produced by the Renegados and Mozarabes, whose 
contributions were largely due to the conditions of the 
Moslem world in which they lived. 

Christian Spain itself was far from being a unit; rather Diversity 
diversity was the rule. The northwest followed the Visi- in Chris- 
gothic tradition, while the north centre and northeast, tian Spain, 
especially Navarre and Catalonia, while retaining much of 
the Visigothic institutions came into frequent contact with 
French peoples, who gave a new turn to their civilization. 
Within each section, too, there were many complex differ 
ences between one region and another. Hence the institu 
tions of the principal areas may be taken separately. 



classes in 





Kingdoms of Asturias, Le6n, and Castile 

Social inequality increased in this period, due to a decline 
in wealth and to an accentuation of the hazards of life. 
The higher nobility attained to vast privileges and authority, 
although less than in other parts of Christian Europe. 
They were often, but not always, allowed to conquer lands 
for themselves, rule their own estates with almost absolute 
authority, leave the king s service for that of another mon 
arch, and be free from taxation. The social prestige of the 
nobles was weakened, however, through the king s right to 
grant titles of nobility. The king might also deprive a 
noble created by himself of his titles and lands. Most of 
the nobility of the lower grades were in fact retainers of 
the greater nobles or of the king, usually rendering military 
service in return for protection. This state of dependence 
was called encomienda (commendation), a term used 
centuries later to cover the virtual enslavement of the 
American Indians. Small landed proprietors and free 
agricultural and industrial laborers placed themselves in 
similar relations to the great nobles, so that the latter were 
about the only really free class of the time. These civilian 
dependents gave produce, tribute, or personal service to 
the lord. The various grades of servitude, from serfs 
attached to a piece of land and enjoying at least some of 
the products of then* labor down to individuals held in 
personal slavery, continued to exist. In general the servile 
classes advanced in about the same degree that the free 
men fell back; many of them came together to form an 
intermediate class in which some rights for example, to 
own property and to change one s habitation freely within 
the same seigniorial territory were enjoyed. 

The king s power was complete enough in theory to merit 
being called absolute, for in him rested supreme legislative, 
judicial, and administrative authority over the realm as a 
whole. In fact the royal authority did not extend equally 
over all the land. On his own properties and usually in 
conquered regions the king was indeed an absolute monarch, 
but as concerned the lands of the nobles and the church 


there were important limitations on his authority. On 
their estates the nobles enjoyed rights of an economic nature 
and also those of a sovereign, with almost as much power in 
theory and in fact as the king had in theory over all the land. 
They raised troops at will, and fought with one another and 
even against the king; they had judicial authority over 
most of the cases arising within their lands ; and they col 
lected taxes for themselves. The protection which they 
owed to all on their estates was not very faithfully accorded, 
but on the contrary they oppressed not only their own de 
pendents but also those of other lords, a practice which 
was a fruitful cause of private war. The nobles, too, were 
veritable highwaymen, robbing travellers, business men, 
and pilgrims, and contributing more than any other class to 
the lawlessness of the times. Bishops and abbots occupied 
a position similar to that of the great nobles. The church 
had acquired estates through gifts of individuals and grants 
of the king, and the same rights and duties attached to 
them as in the case of the nobles. Thus, for example, great 
churchmen raised troops, which at times they commanded 
themselves. The royal power was still further limited in 
fact, because of the necessity of relying upon nobles or church 
men to govern distant lands or to hold other posts of an 
administrative and even of a judicial nature. The rulers 
of administrative districts were the counts (condes) ap 
pointed by the king, and these individuals often gave him 
considerable trouble, as witness the uprisings (at length 
successful) of the counts of Castile. The very necessities 
of civil strife obliged the kings to yield privileges to one set 
of nobles in order to get their aid against another. Never 
theless, great as was the nobles authority, it was not so 
excessive as elsewhere in western Europe. Feudalism, the 
essence of which was the grant of lands in perpetuity with 
rights of sovereignty attached, in return for which the 
grantee owed fealty and some form of service, perhaps 
military, to the grantor, did not exist in its fullness in north 
western Spain. By special grants the king might agree to 
refrain from exercising his sovereign privileges, but in such 
cases certain limitations were usually expressed. When 


judicial authority was conferred on a noble, some attributes 
were retained, for example, the trial of crimes of murder 
and the right of appeal to the royal authority from the cases 
in seigniorial courts. Again, when the lords made laws for 
their territories they did so by special grant of the king, who 
frequently intervened to change the seigniorial statutes or 
to enact others of his own. The difference from European 
feudalism, however, was perhaps more juridical than actual. 
Rise of One element appeared in this period which was to prove 

the free a great limitation on seigniorial authority, and was to be an 
towns. a y to the king in the establishment of internal good order 
and unity. This was the plebeian town. The most im 
portant type of this class was the villa, or concejo, which 
originated in the tenth century. The villas were founded 
on lands conquered by the kings, and were usually in frontier 
districts exposed to the enemy. On this account special 
privileges were granted in order to induce people to settle 
there. Anybody who could contrive to reach a villa was 
declared free, even if of servile grade before. All citizens 
were not equal, however; there were varying grades of 
rank, though all were free. The villas were exempted from 
many duties to the state, often from the payment of 
taxes. They were also withdrawn from the jurisdiction of 
the counts, and were granted much political authority. 
Each villa received its own fuero, or charter, by a special 
grant, with the result that there was a great variety in the 
terms of different charters, although certain of them tended 
to become the types which were imitated in subsequent 
grants. As a general rule the government of a villa was in 
the hands of the assembly of citizens, in which local laws 
were enacted and judges and administrative officers elected. 
These rights, added to a long line of exemptions, made 
veritable political entities of the villas, which were indepen 
dent of all but the king, and were in great measure not subject 
to him. The villa extended beyond its own walls to include 
neighboring rural districts as well. The rise of the villas 
on royal lands compelled the nobility and the clergy to form 
similar settlements in order to attract people to their terri 
tories or to avoid uprisings of their dependents, although 


these towns did not achieve rights equal to those of the 

Since privilege was the general rule, the law in north 
western Spain was very far from being uniform. The 
Visigothic Fuero Juzgo continued to be the general law, but 
it was often supplanted as a result of grants by the king to 
nobles, clergy, and villas, and by the nobles and clergy to 
yet other units under their rule. Very important, too, was 
the modifying effect of local customs, which in the absence 
of other specific law were frequently cited. These customs 
tended to resemble those of the Germanic invaders or even 
of the indigenous peoples, since the type of life at this time 
was similar to that of earlier unsettled periods. This era, 
therefore, was one of a marked falling away from Roman 
traditions, which had to wait several centuries before they 
again came into their own. 

As was natural in such an age of disorder, commerce and 
industry did not flourish. With the rise of the towns a 
beginning was made, and at least one town, Santiago de 
Compostela, seems to have attained to some industrial 
importance. Commerce was hampered by innumerable 
obstacles, such as the depredations of foreign enemies and 
robber lords, the duties which had to be paid to the king, 
and the tolls which were collected by the lords at highways, 
rivers, or bridges within their lands. Stock-raising and 
agriculture and the production of the bare necessities of 
We were the principal occupations. Even these suffered, 
not only from the raids of the Moslems and the nobles, but 
also from the extreme weight of taxation, which was all 
the worse in that it was levied at the caprice of the king, 
lord, or churchman collecting it. The state of misery was 
so great that it is not surprising that famine and epidemics 
harassed the people. 

In general culture, too, there was a decline to an even 
lower level than that of the Visigothic period. Churches 
and monasteries maintained something of the old intellectual 
traditions, and their schools were almost the only resort for 
an education. Latin continued to be used in literature and 
in official documents, but was already acquiring the new 

and primi 
tive char 
acter of 
the law. 


and supeiv 



tions in 

forms which were to pave the way to the various Romance 
tongues of later days. The age was one of superstition, 
which made itself manifest, as in other parts of Europe, even 
in judicial procedure. The tests of wager of battle (or a 
duel between litigants), the hot iron, and boiling water were 
all used to determine innocence or guilt, in the belief that 
God would intervene on the side of the man whose cause 
was just. Poverty and danger led men to live in groups, 
thereby introducing a fresh departure from Roman individ 
ualism. In the towns life more nearly resembled the Roman 
type. In architecture this period marked the introduction 
of the buttress in some of the churches. Naturally, it was 
an age of the building of castles and walls, although the 
materials used were perishable. Most edifices were of 
wood, for in that day Spain was covered with forests in 
regions where they no longer exist. The burning of villages 
in times of war, especially during the Norman invasions, 
led to an exchange from the wooden roof in church building 
to one of non-combustible material of industrial manufacture. 


Kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon, and Catalonia 

The In essentials, the social organization of north central and 

Christian northeastern Spain was not greatly different from that of 
reconqtiest the northwest. Navarre and Catalonia were considerably 
affected by French influence, Aragon less so. The de 
tails for Navarre and Aragon are in any event obscure or 
lacking. The Moslem invasion caused an emigration of 
the people of Catalonia across the Pyrenees, with the result 
that most of the territory remained deserted for two cen 
turies. By 797 Gerona had been reconquered, and by 801 
Barcelona was retaken, and these dates marked the be 
ginning of the social and political reorganization of what 
was to become Catalonia. Lands were allotted to the 
Prankish conquerors and to a number of Catalans who had 
either remained in that region, subject to the Moslems, or 
who came in at the time of the reconquest. These estates 
were given free of obligation, except for that of military 
service. The most important holders were the various 


counts, but there were a number of lesser proprietors beyond 
their jurisdiction. Many of these were converted in course 
of time into feudatories of the counts. The counts were 
at first the appointees of the French king; later they be 
came hereditary; and finally independent. The church 
also acquired vast territories in Catalonia, and was allowed 
to enjoy immunity from obligations and an absolute domin 
ion over its lands. The most important holdings were 
those of the bishop of Gerona. 

From the above it appears that the feudalism of France Feudalism 
had taken root in Catalonia, where the nobles were more in Cata- 
absolute in their own territories and more free from the k> nia an< * 
power of the king or lord to whom they were subject than avarre - 
was the case in northwestern Spain. The greater impor 
tance of the counts of Barcelona has already been alluded to ; 
by the beginning of the eleventh century they were saluted 
with the title of prince in recognition of their sovereignty. 
Aside from their own estates, however, their legal authority 
extended little further than that of a right to inspect judicial 
tribunals (in order to see that their decisions were in accord 
with the general law of the land) and to have certain cases 
appealable to their courts. The Fwro Juzgo, in so far as 
it applied to the changed conditions of Catalonia, was the 
general law, but numerous exceptions began to appear, much 
as in the northwest, although the development of free towns 
was not nearly so great. In Navarre the administration 
of justice belonged to the king, but on the other hand the 
king could not hold court, or make war, peace, or a truce, 
without consulting the nobles, and he was subject in every 
respect to the laws which confirmed their privileges. Further 
more, he acquired his throne by election, although the choice 
was confined as a rule to members of a single family. Feudal 
ism not only weakened the power of the monarchy in north 
central and northeastern Spain, but also tended to impair 
the lot of the servile classes,, which were delayed in achiev 
ing emancipation in these regions much longer than in other 
parts of Spain. 

The most important religious incident of the period was 
the entry of the monks of Cluny into Spain. This order 


Coming of had taken it upon itself to combat simony (the sale of church 
the monks office) and offences against the ecclesiastical law of celibacy 
of Cluny. (requiring that men who had taken holy orders should not 
marry), both of which practices were than very prevalent 
in Christendom, and to bring about a complete and effective 
submission of distant churches to the bishop of Rome. 
These monks came into Spain by way of Navarre in the 
reign of Sancho the Great, and by 1033 they were already 
in Castile. Aside from their immediate objects they pro 
duced two other important effects: they reinforced the 
French ideas which had preceded them ; and they accelerated 
the reconquest as a result of the influence which they ac 
quired, employing it to urge on the kings in wars against 
Backward- the Moslems. In economic institutions, general culture, 
ness of and the fine arts the north centre and northeast were very 
Pyrenean backward, like the northwest. It is noteworthy, however, 
pam * that by the ninth century the Catalans were already be 
ginning to engage in trade in the Mediterranean. 



THE period of a little more than two centuries after the General 
downfall of the caliphate was marked by a complete change charao- 
from that preceding it, and in like manner was quite inde- Jeristies 
pendent of the next succeeding era. Up to this time Moslem e era * 
Spain had represented by far the principal element in the 
peninsula. The Christian states had maintained themselves 
with difficulty, making occasional gains, which were not 
infrequently followed by equally great losses whenever the 
Moslem power was sufficiently united internally to present 
its full strength. The civilization of the Christian kingdoms 
had also been notably inferior in almost every respect to 
that of the Moslem south. From the eleventh to the middle 
of the thirteenth century, however, the region of Moslem 
Spain, divided against itself, could not make an effective 
resistance, and the Christian powers began an offensive 
which enabled them to reconquer all of the peninsula ex 
cept for a narrow strip in southern Andalusia. These wars 
partook very largely of the crusading spirit then so prev 
alent in Europe, and although it was not nearly so per 
sistent, fervid, or exclusive an aim as is usually believed it 
seems appropriate to characterize this era as that of the 
Spanish crusades. This was also a period of noteworthy 
advance in internal organization in Christian Spain, for 
although civil war and disorder were great as compared with 
some later eras many regions enjoyed long terms of peace, 
very much more complete at least than in the three pre 
ceding centuries. The pushing back of the Moslem frontier 
conduced greatly to this end. The kings gradually be 
came more powerful than the great individual nobles, who 




had been able to meet them on virtually equal terms before. 
The free commoners advanced both in status and in num 
bers. In material well-being there was a marked improve 
ment. Finally, in general culture the same tendency ap 
peared. In all of these respects the fund of civilization was 
very slight compared with what it was to become in suc 
ceeding centuries, but it was at least something, whereas 
the period before had represented little more than bare 
existence. Despite the fact that there was very little 
understanding of the ideal of national unity, as evidenced 
by the frequency with which monarchs divided their king 
doms, circumstances tended toward the accomplishment of 
what men could not readily grasp. Two great states emerged 
in Christian Spain, the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. 
They were able even to act in peace and concert at times in 
the wars against the Moslems. A third region tended to 
withdraw from the current of peninsula unity, for it was in 
this period that the modern state of Portugal had its inde 
pendent beginnings. Nevertheless, Moslem Spain, though 
less important than Castile and Aragon, remained the key 
note of the period, not alone because of the wars against it, 
but also because its civilization, especially in material and 
intellectual aspects, was still far superior to that of Castile 
and Aragon. It was at this time, indeed, that the Moslem 
world produced its greatest scholars and the Christian 
states became most strongly imbued with the spirit of Moslem 
culture, with permanent results on Spanish character. 
This era was unequal in length for Castile and Aragon, 
closing respectively in 1252 and 1276 with the deaths of 
Ferdinand III and Jaime I. 

Moslem Spain 

The taifa With the dethronement of Hisham III in 1031 the cali- 
tates and phate broke up into a number of states called taifas, from 

of Seville an Arabic word meanin g "tribe," or "people." Down to 
the close of the eleventh century there were many of these 
states, twenty-three at one time, but the most impor 
tant were those of Cordova, Seville, Malaga, Granada, 


Almeria, Denia and the Balearic Islands, Saragossa, Toledo, 
and Badajoz. The rulers were usually Slavic or Berber 
generals of the latter-day armies of the caliphate and their 
descendants. Each desired to make himself sole caliph, 
and so an internecine strife was waged almost continuously, 
especially in the south. Seville soon forged ahead of its 
regional rivals, and was by far the most important taifa of 
the century. Like several of the others it had been founded 
as a republic (as early as 1023), but its skilful ruler, Abul 
Cassim Mohammed of the Abbadite family, soon made him 
self absolute, while retaining the forms of a republic. In 
order to overcome his most powerful neighbors he pretended 
that Hisham II had reappeared, availing himself of a mat- 
maker who resembled the dead caliph. The stratagem was 
so successful that Carmona, Valencia, Denia, Tortosa, and 
even the republic of Cordova recognized the pseudo-Hisham, 
whereupon the crafty Sevillian proceeded to conquer large 
parts of the taifa states of Malaga and Granada. His succes 
sors were equally fortunate, and by the end of the third 
quarter of the century the greater part of Moslem Spain, 
especially in the west and south, had acknowledged the rule 
of the lord of Seville. Seville, too, had become every bit as 
noteworthy an intellectual centre as Cordova had been 
under the caliphs. 

The Christian kings of Castile and Leon had meanwhile Yusuf and 
profited by the wars of the taifa states to make conquests the Almo- 
or to reduce many of the taifas to the payment of tribute. ravlde 
Even Seville was tributary to a Christian king. This in 
clined many of the Moslem princes, realizing their own help 
lessness, to invite a newly-risen Mohammedan power in 
northwestern Africa to come to their aid. The rulers of 
the taifas recognized that their own authority might be 
endangered by the entry of their coreligionists, but their 
feelings were well expressed in the words attributed to the 
ruler of Seville : " I would rather be a camel-driver in Africa 
than a swineherd in Castile." The African people referred 
to were a branch of the Berbers who had dwelt apart in the 
Sahara Desert. Converted at length to the Moslem faith, 
they became fanatically religious, taking to themselves the 


name " Almoravides" (religious men), and launching them 
selves forth to the conquest of all northwestern Africa, 
The African empire of the Almoravides was already an ac 
complished fact when their emperor, Yusuf, was invited to 
help the Spanish Moslems under a promise that he would 
not deprive the taifa rulers of their states. In 1086 Yusuf 
entered Spain, and encountered the army of Alfonso VI 
of Leon at Zalaca, near Badajoz. Yusuf was completely 
successful, and the Christian peril was rolled back, but no 
counter-conquests of moment were made. Yusuf himself 
returned to Africa. Four years later the Moslem princes 
had need of Yusuf, and once again he came to avert the 
threatening danger. By this time popular opinion, rein 
forced by the intrigues of the Moslem priesthood, desired 
the establishment of Yusuf s authority in Spain ; the resto 
ration of a single rule, it was believed, would check the 
Christian kings, and bring peace and prosperity. By 1091 
Yusuf had reduced all of the taifa princes except the king of 
Saragossa, and the latter was subjected by Yusuf s successor. 
Thus the unity of Moslem Spain was again accomplished. 1 
Rise of The Almoravide rule rested very lightly on the Moslem 

the Almo- population, but only for a short time. The emperors lost 
their religious enthusiasm, and not only did they fail to 
advance the conquest but they also gave themselves up to 
a life of luxury and dissipation. Public security declined,, 
with the result that the people now wished to rid themselves 
of the sovereigns whom formerly they had desired so much. 
At this time there came a tremendous uprising in Africa 
in 1125 of the Moors of the Moroccan Atlas, an uncivilized 
branch of the Berber family. They had become fanatical 
Mohammedans, and like their Almoravide predecessors had 
taken a name springing from their religious faith, that of 
"Almohades" (unitarians). Uncultivated as they were, 
they were able to master the military art of that day suffi 
ciently to overwhelm the Almoravide power in Africa, though 
only after a long war. 

Meanwhile, a second era of taifa states had sprung up in 
Spam, but in 1146 the Almohades entered the peninsula, and 
i Rueda continued independent, an unimportant exception. 


proceeded to reduce the taifa princes. By 1172 all Moslem TheAlmo- 
Spain was under their sway. Spain was now formed into hades in 
a province of the Almohade empire, the capital of which &&***** 
was in Africa. The new conquerors did more than merely 
garrison the peninsula, they pursued the hated Arabs so 
zealously that the latter were either destroyed or absorbed. 
The Berbers were for many years virtually the only Mo 
hammedan element in the peninsula except for the Renegades. 
The wars with the Christians were also renewed. In 1194 
Alfonso VIII of Castile challenged the emperor Yacub to a 
battle. Yacub accepted, and the battle was fought at Alarcos 
(Badajoz) in 1195, ending in the rout of the Christians. The The 
war continued, however, and in 1212 the united forces of Christian 
Leon, Castile, Navarre, and Aragon gained a great victory 
at Navas de Tolosa in Andalusia. This was the turning* 
point in the Christian reconquest. The Almohade state 
soon fell to pieces, and by 1228 the taifas began to reappear, 
but one after another they were conquered by the Christian 
kings. A single Moslem state escaped ; in 1230 it had been 
founded at Arjona, and presently took shape as the kingdom 
of Granada, establishing its capital in 1238 at the city of the 
same name. This tiny realm, extending at its greatest 
from Almerfa to Gibraltar, was able to maintain itself for 
over two centuries and a half. 

Le6n and Castile 

By the will of Sancho the Great of Navarre, Castile had Castilian 
become legally a kingdom in 1035. Ferdinand I (1035- conquests. 
1065) soon overwhelmed the king of Leon, uniting all north 
western Spain under his rule. Wars with Navarre followed 
until 1054, after which Ferdinand devoted himself with 
great religious zeal to campaigns against the Moslem taifas, 
making numerous conquests, and subjecting many states 
to the payment of tribute. Despite the lesson of his own 
experience he divided his realm, at death, into the three king 
doms of Castile, Leon, and Galicia, besides two lesser prin 
cipalities. A long civil war followed, out of which there 
emerged Alfonso YI (1065-1109) as sole ruler of the domain 


Alfonso of his father. Alfonso VI took up the wars against the 
VI. Moslems with great success, and on one occasion, in 1082, 

was able to ride his horse into the sea in the extreme south of 
Spain at Tarifa, when he is said to have exclaimed : "This 
is the last land in Spain, and I have trod it." The principal 
event of the reign was the capture of Toledo in 1085. Al 
fonso had promised to restore the taifa king of Toledo to his 
throne, from which he had been ousted by a rebellion, but 
changed his mind, and took the city for himself. From 
that time forward Toledo was of great military importance 
to the Christians, serving as the centre of the reconquest, 
and it was also the medium through which Moslem civiliza 
tion began to produce an effect on Castile. The treaty of 
capitulation was not very faithfully carried out ; for example, 
Alfonso had promised to allow the Mohammedans to re 
tain their principal mosque for purposes of worship, but in 
his absence the monks of Cluny were able to persuade the 
queen to take over that edifice as a Christian church. The 
incident is illustrative of a new crusading spirit which had 
entered Spain with the monks of Cluny, although it had 
not yet become general. Taifa after taifa now humbled 
itself before Alfonso ; Valencia was captured, and the former 
king of Toledo became its nominal ruler, but with a Cas- 
tilian army; and Alfonso could with reason entitle himself 
"sovereign of the men of the two religions," a phrase which 
shows that Christian zeal was not altogether uncompromising. 
It was then that the Almoravide invasion checked the Cas- 
tilian king, but although he lost Valencia he was able to 
maintain the principal part of his conquests. 

The Cid. It was in the reign of Alfonso VI that Rodrigo, or Ruy, 
Diaz of Vivar (near Burgos), better known as "the Cid," 
performed the achievements which have made him a famous 
character in literature. Until recently he was represented 
as a fanatically ardent, Christian crusader, ever drawing 
his sword against the infidel or in defence of any just and 
noble cause, and performing superhuman prodigies of valor. 
The true Cid was very far from answering to that descrip 
tion, and was also so typical of his age that his real career 
has historic value apart from literature. In the civil wars 


following the death of Ferdinand I, Diaz was a partisan of 
Sancho II of Castile, and contributed greatly to that mon 
arch s success, a victory which was spoiled by the assas 
sination of his patron. Diaz then recognized Alfonso VI, 
and was sent by the latter to collect the tribute due from the 
king of Seville. On his return he was accused of having 
appropriated for himself certain of the funds which he was 
bringing to the king, and was banished from Castile ; pos 
sibly Alfonso VI may still have felt resentment over Diaz s 
part in the victories of Sancho. Followed by only a few 
warriors Diaz wandered over Spain, seeking wealth and 
honors in return for military aid. Finally he took service 
with the Moslem king of Saragossa, and won fame in all 
the peninsula as a result of his victories not only against 
Moslem enemies but more than once against Christian 
kings; in fine, religion seems not to have entered into his 
program to any appreciable extent; indeed, the name Cid 
was applied by his Moslem soldiers, meaning "lord," or 
"master." In 1086 the Moslem king of Valencia, the same 
one who had been placed on the throne by Alfonso VI, got 
into difficulties with his subjects, and sought the aid of 
Saragossa. The Cid was sent with an army of mingled 
Christians and Moslems to restore the authority of the 
Valencian monarch. This he did, but under a contract 
which ignored his Saragossan master and enabled the Cid 
to become the virtual ruler of Valencia. In 1092 on the 
death of the king of Valencia the Cid converted his de facto 
into a de jure rule, reigning until his death in 1099. As 
monarch of Valencia he was selfish and cruel, like others 
of his time, sustaining his power by virtue of his army of 
Christians and Moslems against foes of whatever faith, even 
against Castile. He espoused one of his daughters^ to 
Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona, and another to a prince 
of the royal family of Navarre. After his death his state 
fell before the advance of the Almoravides. 

Alfonso VI was succeeded by his daughter Urraca (1109- The 
1126), for he left no sons, and her reign was a period of anarchy oi 
anarchy. Urraca, who was a widow, was compelled by 
the nobles to remarry, on the ground that affairs of state 


needed a man s direction, while her infant son by a previous 
marriage, Alfonso, was brought up in Galicia, being con 
sidered king of that region. Alfonso I "the Battler" of 
Aragon was selected as a husband for Urraca, but the mar 
riage was not a happy one. Urraca was so imprudent in 
her manner of life that the Battler saw fit to imprison her 
in a castle. Furthermore, he displayed a clear intention 
of making himself ruler in Castile as he was in Aragon, a 
course which the Castilian nobles were far from approving. 
The scene having been set the wars began. A complication 
entered from the side of Galicia, where Bishop Gelmirez 
of Santiago de Compostela proposed that the infant Alfonso 
should reign in Leon as well as in Galicia. The changes of 
side and fortune in these wars, not only by the three prin 
cipals, but also by individual nobles, need not be followed, 
except to relate one incident which marked the first step 
toward the ultimate independence of Portugal. Teresa^ 
a sister of Urraca, had married a French count, Henry oi 
Lorraine, to whom (in 1095 ?) Alfonso VI granted territo- 
The be- ries called the county of Portugal in the northern part of 
ginningsof the land which now bears that name. These estates were 
Portugal, held as a g e f y su bject to tribute and military service. Henry 
and later Teresa (on the former s death) profited by the 
civil strife to increase their holdings and acquire real strength, 
Urraca died in 1126, and matters were arranged by the 
recognition of the young Alfonso (Alfonso VII "the Em 
peror ") as king in his grandfather s domain, while Alfonsc 
the Battler gained some territories adjoining his kingdom 
of Aragon. 1 

1 Less famous than the Cid, but quite as representative of his 
time, was the figure of Bishop Diego Gelmirez of Santiago de Com 
postela, who played an important part in the events of Urraca 
reign. He was a vigorous, ambitious, restless, not overscrupulous 
man, breaking pledges and changing from one side to another witl 
the usual facility of men of that age. He was not only ambitious 
for himself but was also an ardent votary of the extension of enure! 
authority. He was a fighting bishop, who engaged in military 
campaigns himself and encountered many vicissitudes both ir 
the civil wars of the kingdom and in the local uprisings of his owr 
subjects. On one occasion the citizens of Santiago besieged hirr 
in his church, and set fire to a tower in which he took refuge. Never 
theless, the bishop escaped in the guise of a beggar. In the enc 


The death of Urraca did not end the internal strife in Alfonso 
Christian Spain. For ten years there were wars with " tne Em- 
Teresa and her son Affonso Enriquez of Portugal; there P eror *" 
were wars, too, against Aragon and Navarre, following the 
death of Alfonso the Battler, out of which Alfonso VII pro 
cured some extensions of territory. When the century was 
nearly half gone Alfonso was able to turn energetically to 
an attack upon the Moslem states, especially between 1144 
and 1147 during the second era of the taifas. His conquests 
were vast, but of brief duration, for the Alrnohades soon 
entered Spain to deprive him of what he had won. Like 
Ferdinand I before him Alfonso VII took the title of em 
peror, which then had a significance equivalent to that of 
sole temporal ruler of Christendom in succession to the 
Roman emperors. In the case of Ferdinand and Alfonso 
it may also have represented a protest against the like 
pretensions of the Holy Roman Emperors, then reigning 
principally in Germanic Europe. Alfonso seemed in a fair 
way to create a peninsula empire, for he was able to make 
the kings of Aragon and Navarre, the counts of Barcelona 
and Toulouse, various lesser princes of Spain and southern 
France, and some rulers of the Moslem taifas swear fealty 
to him as their feudal sovereign. The imperial confedera 
tion had no real strength, however, for the spirit of separatism 
was as yet too deeply rooted. Alfonso himself demonstrated 
this by dividing his realm at his death, in 1157, into the two 
kingdoms of Castile and Leon. 

The next following reigns had their share of internal strife The de- 
and one important event in the course of the Moslem wars, ^ nce of 
the defence of Calatrava in 1158 by two Cistercian monks, Calatrav * 
who procured an army by proclaiming a crusade. Out of 
this event there came the founding in 1164 of the important 
military order of Calatrava. Alfonso VIII (1158-1214) Alfonso 
inherited the throne of Castile while still a child. War and VIII and 
disorder followed until 1180, for the kings of Leon and 

he was usually successful. He procured the erection of Santiago the 

de Compostela into an archbishopric, and enjoyed the distinction, Moslems. 

equally with the church of Rome, of having seven ^ cardinals as 

sanons. He also gained the influential post of chaplain to Alfonso 




The inde 
of Portu 

and the 
in Spain. 

Navarre and various nobles endeavored as usual to profit 
for themselves at the expense of the newly enthroned mon 
arch. At length Alfonso VIII, who was one of the ablest 
rulers of this period (both in internal organization and in 
external conquest), directed his attention to the reconquest 
from the Moslems. After a rapid succession of victories he 
was defeated, as already noted, at the battle of Alarcos, on 
which occasion the kings of Leon and Navarre failed to 
accord him the aid they had promised. Wars followed 
against the two kings, but matters were at length adjusted 
and a tremendous army, including many foreigners, was 
raised to combat the Almohades. All seemed to be imbued 
with the crusading spirit, but most of the foreigners deserted 
before the issue presented itself. Nearly all the peoples of 
Christian Spain were represented in Alfonso s host, how 
ever, and together they won the great battle of Navas de 
Tolosa in 1212. 

Meanwhile, the counts of Portugal had continued their 
policy of complete separation from Leon and Castile, and 
had also extended their frontiers southward by successful 
wars against the Moslems. Affonso Enriquez took the title 
of king, and this was recognized in 1143 by Alfonso VII, 
subject to the vassalage of the Portuguese monarch to Leon. 
Affonso Enriquez managed to avoid this condition by sub 
mitting his state to the sovereignty of the pope, who ac 
cepted it in 1144, though conferring only the title of duke 
on Affonso. A few years later Pope Alexander III recog 
nized the Portuguese ruler as king. Thus Portugal withdrew 
from the current of peninsula unity, and established her 
independence in law and in fact. 

Berenguela, daughter of Alfonso VIII of Castile, had 
married Alfonso IX (1188-1230) of Leon, by whom she had 
a son, Ferdinand. Pope Innocent III brought about an 
annulment of the marriage on the ground of consanguinity, 
though he recognized the legitimacy of Ferdinand. On 
the death of Henry I of Castile in 1217 Berenguela was 
proclaimed queen, but granted the throne to her son, who 
as Ferdinand III, later Saint Ferdinand (San Fernando), 
was to prove an even greater monarch than his grandfather, 


Alfonso VIII. Wars with his father and with his nobles 
occupied the early years of his reign, but by 1225, having 
overcome his Christian enemies, he was able to renew the 
campaigns against the Moslems. City after city fell into 
his power; Cordova was taken in 1236; Murcia became 
tributary in 1241 ; and the culminating blow came with the 
siege of Seville, which surrendered to Ferdinand in 1248. 
Despite the fact that not a little crusading zeal entered into 
these campaigns and that Ferdinand himself was an ardent 
Christian, religious enthusiasm, even yet, was not as un 
compromising as it later became. Ferdinand was an ally 
at one time of the Almohade emperor, whom he restored to 
his throne in Africa; he also accepted the alliance of the 
Moslem prince of Granada in the campaign against Seville ; 
and other similar instances of his freedom from fanatical 
intolerance might be adduced. Nevertheless, he planned 
to overwhelm the Moslem authority, and would almost 
certainly have invaded Africa if he had lived a few years 
longer. His Christian spirit, however, was along practical 
and national lines. When Louis IX of France invited him 
to join in a crusade in the orient Ferdinand is said to have 
replied : "There is no lack of Moors in my land." Not only 
by conquests but also by internal reforms he assisted in 
the development of Castilian unity. One external event 
of capital importance was the incorporation into Castile of 
the kingdom of Leon in 1230 on the death of Alfonso IX, 
despite the latter s attempt to deliver his dominions to two 
daughters by a marriage previous to that with Berenguela. 
With Ferdinand s death in 1252 the era of the Castilian 
crusades came to an end. 

Catalonia, 1035 to 1164 

At the time when Ramon Berenguer I (1035-1076) be- The ex- 
came count of Barcelona, Catalonia was a federation of tension of 
counties, acknowledging the ruler of Barcelona as overlord. j^^ty 
Possessed already of Barcelona and Gerona, Ramon Beren- of tlie 
guer soon acquired two more counties, which had been left counts of 
by his father to other sons. He extended his frontiers at Barcelona, 


the expense of the Moslems, and laid the foundations of 
the later Catalonian power in southern France through 
marriage alliances with princes of that region. It was in 
his reign, too, that the Catalan code of the Usdticos, or 
Usatges (Usages, or Customs), was compiled, though at the 
instance of his powerful vassals, who wanted their privileges 
reduced to writing. By the end of his reign he had united 
five Catalonian counties and many other territories under 
his rule, including almost as much land in southern France 
as he possessed in Spain. No further progress was made 
until the reign of Ramon Berenguer III (1096-1131), who, 
through inheritance, without civil wars, acquired all of the 
Catalonian counties but two and a great part of southern 
France. He also waged wars against the Moslems, though 
perhaps the most notable thing about them was that the 
Pisans fought as his allies. Indeed, he established com 
mercial and diplomatic relations with the various Italian 
republics, a beginning of Spain s fateful connection with 
Italy. Ramon Berenguer IV (1131-1162) inherited only 
the Spanish portions of his father s domain, but extended 
his authority over Tortosa, Lerida, and other Moslem regions, 
being a notable warrior. In 1150 he married the daughter 
of the king of Aragon, and in 1164 his son by this marriage 
united Aragon and Catalonia under a single rule. 


The be- The kingdom of Aragon dates from the will of Sancho the 
giimngs Q reat O f Navarre in 1035. The new state was almost 
and the n i ns ig n ifi can tly small at the outset, but, by inheritances, 
union with wars with the Moslems, and the peaceful incorporation of 
Catalonia. Navarre in 1076, it already included a large portion of north 
central Spain by the close of the eleventh century. The 
era of great conquests began with Alfonso I "the Battler" 
(1104-1134), the same king whose marriage with Urraca 
of Castile had resulted so unfavorably. Better fortune 
awaited him on the Moslem frontier. In 1118 he captured 
Saragossa, an event as important in Aragon as was the ac 
quisition of Toledo a few years before in Castile. He carried 


his campaigns as far south, even, as Murcia and Andalusia, 
but the principal result of these invasions was that he 
brought back ten thousand Mozrabes to settle his newly- 
won conquests. Having no sons he tried to leave his realm 
to two military orders, but this arrangement did not prove 
agreeable to his subjects. The nobles of Navarre elected a 
king of their own, withdrawing from the union with Aragon, 
while those of Aragon chose a brother of Alfonso, named 
Ramiro, who at the time of his election was a monk. The 
reign of Ramiro II "the Monk" (1134-1137) was excep 
tionally important for Spain, without any particular merit 
accruing therefor to the king. The pope freed him from 
his vows and he married. From this marriage there was 
born a daughter, Petronilla. Ramiro espoused her to 
Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona, and soon abdicated, 
returning to his monastery. Petronilla s son, Ramon 
Berenguer, who presently changed his name to the Ara- 
gonese-sounding Alfonso, was the first to rule in his own 
right over Aragon and Catalonia in what came to be called 
the kingdom of Aragon, although Catalonia was always the 
more important part. 

Alfonso II inherited Catalonia in 1162, and became king The act of 
of Aragon proper in 1164 on the abdication of Petronilla. vassalage 
Later he inherited nearly all of southern France. He was to , 
also a frequent ally of Alfonso VIII of Castile against the ^ Q 
Moslems, gaining some territories on his own account. In French 
1179 these two kings made a treaty dividing Spain between conquests 
them, fixing the limits of their respective present and future in Ara " 
conquests, a noteworthy instance of the approach toward f ominionh 
the unification of Spain. Alfonso II was succeeded by O f 
Pedro II "the Catholic" (1196-1213) at a time when affairs southern 
were in a critical state in his French dominions. That 
region had been in constant turmoil, as a result both of the 
ambitions of the kings of France and of the comparative 
independence and selfish aims of the feudal lords. There was 
now added a new factor, the widespread Albigensian 
heresy, which had been accepted by the majority of the 
Proven9al people and even more by their lords. With mat 
ters in this state Pedro visited Rome in 1204, and, while 


years of 
the reign, 
of Jaime 
"the Con 

there, gave his dominions in vassalage to the pope, receiving 
them back as a fief. This act was to have important con 
sequences at a later time, but if its immediate object was 
to check French pretensions to southern France, as has 
been supposed, it was not very successful, for the pope 
himself proclaimed a crusade against the Albigenses. The 
crusaders were French nobles, who represented a purely 
French invasion quite as much as they did an orthodox 
host. Under their leader, Simon de Montfort, they won 
several victories, displaying such cruelty against Catholics 
and heretics alike that they were censured by a famous 
religious at that time preaching among the Albigenses, 
Domingo de Guzman. Guzman was the Spaniard who 
later founded the Dominican order, named for him, and 
who became canonized as Saint Dominic (San Domingo). 
Pedro II endeavored to mediate to check the temporal 
designs of Montfort, but was persuaded by the pope to 
recognize the French leader as his vassal in the regions he 
had conquered. When Montfort continued in his aggres 
sive designs Pedro II declared war against him, but was 
defeated in a battle which cost him his life. 

The death of Pedro II brought to the throne the greatest 
Aragonese monarch of the period, Jaime I "the Conqueror" 
(1213-1276), a worthy contemporary of Ferdinand III of 
Castile. At the outset of his reign he was a mere child in 
the dangerous possession of Simon de Montfort. On this 
occasion the tremendous influence of the great pope, Inno 
cent III, was beneficial to Spain, for Montfort was con 
strained to surrender the boy king to his people. Then 
followed the usual troubles which beset the early years of a 
youthful monarch in that period. There were wars brought 
about by ambitious nobles fighting for the possession of the 
king, wars of the nobles among themselves, and wars of 
the nobles against the king. Though only a boy, Jaime took 
a hand in the fighting, and was many times in danger, 
twice he was captured by hostile nobles, but thanks to 
his courage and coolness was always able to free himself 
from the perils which beset him. Not until 1228 was he in 
full command of the situation. Meanwhile, civil wars had 


been taking place in southern France, resolving themselves 
finally into a struggle between the count of Toulouse, aided 
by the Catalans, and Simon de Montfort. In this war 
Montfort lost his life, and the French power in that region 
for the time being vanished. 

Backed by the sentiment of most of Catalonia, which The 
desired territorial and commercial expansion in the Mediter- conquests 
ranean, Jaime now planned a career of conquest. Many of 
the Aragonese and western Catalonian nobles declined to 
join him in this enterprise ; so he had to find means as best 
he could without their aid. In 1229 he entered the island 
of Majorca, which for centuries had been successively a 
pirate and Moslem stronghold. Having achieved the con 
quest, which proved an easy matter, Jaime distributed the 
lands among his Catalan followers. In 1232 Minorca was 
subjected, and in 1235 Ibiza, too. Thus the Balearic 
Islands fell into Jaime s power and received a Catalan 
civilization, which they still possess. The greatest prize, 
however, was the rich kingdom of Valencia. Although 
handicapped by the lukewarm support of his nobles Jaime 
proceeded to the conquest with such success that he won 
the aid of those who had previously failed to help him, and 
in 1238 the city of Valencia fell, an event comparable 
with the capture of Seville by Ferdinand III. The rest 
of the kingdom was not long in falling into Jaime s power, 
and the lands Were distributed among his nobles, but the 
Moslems were so numerous that they were able to rise in 
rebellion on two occasions before the end of the reign. On 
achieving the conquest of Valencia, Jaime had agreed with 
the king of Castile that the southern boundary of that king 
dom should be the limit of the Aragonese conquest, while 
Murcia, which became tributary to Ferdinand III in 1241, 
was reserved for the ultimate definitive conquest of Castile. 
The unquenchable military ardor of Jaime I would not 
allow him to rest on his laurels, however, and he engaged to 
conquer Murcia for the king of Castile. This he accom 
plished in the years 1265 and 1266, giving the lands to his 
Catalan nobles, who were subjected to the Castilian king, 
whereupon Jaime withdrew. These relations between the 


kings of Castile and Aragon not only instanced a somewhat 
rare good faith, but also marked a tendency which was 
gradually manifesting itself toward the ultimate unity of 
Spain. Next, the restless warrior-king planned to go on a 
crusade to Palestine, but his fleet was wrecked, and he gave 
up the project, although some Catalan boats did reach their 
destination. In 1273 Jaime wanted to conquer Granada 
for Castile, but this time he could not persuade his Catalan 
nobles to follow him. He did, however, send a fleet to 
attack the coast of Morocco. 

Other Jaime was not only a great conqueror; he was also a 

charac- great administrator. Owing to the entry of feudalism into 
Jaime? nor theastern Spain his nobles had such power that even the 
rule. able Jaime was obliged often to compromise or to yield 

to their wishes. He took steps to reduce their power, at 
the cost of civil war, and in many other respects bettered 
the administration of his kingdom. Though deeply re 
ligious he was far from being an ascetic, as is evidenced by 
the many illegitimate children descended from him, and 
although usually magnanimous in character he was capable 
of acts of ferocious cruelty, such, for example, as that of 
ordering the tongue of the bishop of Gerona to be torn out 
for the latter s having revealed to the pope a secret of the 
confession. In 1276 when the great king died he left a will 
which contradicted the policies of centralization and the 
aggrandizement of the kingdom which in his lifetime he 
had unfailingly pursued. He divided his realms, giving 
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia to his eldest son, Pedro, 
and Majorca and the Roussillon (southern France) to his 
son Jaime. The division was not to endure long, however. 


Xavarre There is little worth recording in the history of Navarre 
passes j n tkjg p er i d. After the separation from Aragon in 1134 
French Navarre engaged periodically in civil strife and in wars with 
ru le. Aragon or Castile. When the throne became vacant in 

1234 the French count of Champagne was elected king, and, 


with this, Navarre was, for many years, more involved in 
the history of France than in that of Spain. At length the 
heiress of Navarre married Philip IV of France, whereupon 
Navarre ceased to be a kingdom, becoming a mere de 
pendency of the French monarch. 


tism in 

factors in 


Moslem Spain 

THE principle of absolute monarchy continued to be 
followed in Moslem Spain, and was even accentuated, whether 
in the eras of the taifas, or at times of a single dominion. 
Indeed, this was virtually the case while the taifas were 
still republics, although they soon converted themselves 
into confessed monarchies. In furtherance of absolutism 
an excess of court ceremonial was introduced, and the rulers 
rarely allowed their faces to be seen, holding audiences, for 
example, from behind a curtain. The taifa kings amassed 
great wealth, and their palaces were overflowing with luxury. 

The most important social change was the complete over 
throw of the Arabic element, leaving the Berbers and Renega- 
dos in control. Arabic influence had already done its work, 
however, and the passing of the contemporary members of 
that race did not mean the uprooting of Arabic traits in 
Spain. Social well-being declined, owing to the various 
factors of war, the development of vast landed estates (at 
the expense of the small proprietor), and the increase in 
taxation. The Jews enjoyed great consideration for a 
while, exercising an important influence in material, intel 
lectual, and even political affairs. Under the Almoravides 
and Almohades they were severely persecuted, and many of 
them emigrated to Castile, where for the time being they 
were well received. The Mozarabes were also persecuted, 
and in increasing degree with the advance of the Christians, 
for they aided not a little in the reconquest. Many of them 



were taken north by the Christian kings when they returned 
from their invasions, whereupon those remaining in Moslem 
territory were all the more harshly treated. The Almohades 
were particularly intolerant. 

Le6n and Castile 

The nobility continued to be the most important social Nobles 
class, with much the same differences of grade among them- and 
selves, the same authority and privileges, and the same eler sy- 
tendencies to war against the king and with one another 
and to commit acts of violence and robbery as in the pre 
ceding period. The conflict of the nobility as a class against 
the king took definite shape, and a numerous new nobility, 
the caballeros (knights), sprang up. The caballeros proceeded 
from the plebeian ranks, being composed of those who could 
equip themselves for war as cavalrymen. Although they 
gained certain privileges, such as exemptions from taxation, 
thus weakening the king s power, they served in fact as a 
counterpoise to the hereditary noble class. They were much 
favored by the kings, who needed well-equipped soldiers 
for their wars. The clergy made distinct gains as regards 
personal immunities and the freedom of their lands from 
the usual obligations, especially from that of taxation. 
This bettering of their position was not the result of general 
laws, but rather of the accumulation of individual privileges, 
granted now to one religious institution, now to another. 
Their advantages in these respects were not always well 
received by others, and objections were made, especially 
by the popular element, through their representatives ^ in 
the national Cortes (Congress, or Parliament), of which 
institution presently. 

The free popular element, or middle class, which had been The ad 
reborn in the preceding period with the founding of the 
villas, or concejos, developed a much greater social impor- 
tance than formerly. Many factors contributed to this end, 
such as the increase in the number of the villas, the conces 
sion of new privileges, the material advance of ^ Christian 
Spain (agriculturally, industrially, and commercially), the 


important military services of the municipal militia, and 
the fact that not only the caballeros but also the leading 
jurisconsults began to be recruited from the middle class* 
As a rule this element paid taxes, but it enjoyed not a few 
exemptions and privileges, for example, a right not to 
be required to make unusual contributions at the mere will 
of the king, or in some cases a right to commute all of their 
Gains of taxes to a single tribute. At the same time, the servile 
the servile classes made striking advances, in part through their own 
classes. efforts, but aided also by an increasing sentiment in favor 
of manumissions, by the need for population (both as a 
result of the conquests and in consequence of economic 
development), and by the protection accorded them in the 
villas. The movement for emancipation was not uniform 
or free from setbacks, and this led to numerous uprisings 
of serfs, who joined the enemies of their masters in wars 
against the latter. The monks of Cluny, accustomed to the 
much greater subjection of the servile classes in France, 
represented a strong current of reaction. At Sahagtin, the 
principal Cluniac centre, there were such limitations on 
liberty as those requiring that all bread must be cooked in 
the ovens of the monastery, and forbidding anybody to 
sell his wine before the monks had sold theirs, or to buy 
cloth, fresh fish, firewood, or other necessities before the 
monks had bought theirs, and there were other restrictions 
of a like character. By the end of the twelfth century serfs 
generally had gained such rights as the exact fixing of services 
due their lords, the abolition of the practice of selling them 
with the land, and the recognition of the validity of their 
marriages, whether consented to by their lords or not. In 
the thirteenth century they gained almost complete personal 
liberty, doing away with the malos usos, or bad customs, like 
those referred to in the case of the monastery of Sahag6n. 
The f our _ Four new social classes became important at this time, 
principally as a result of the wars of reconquest, the 
foreigners, Jews, Mudejares, and Mozarabes. As a general 
rule each group had its own law, differentiating it from the 
national elements. Foreigners from every prominent western 
European region came to Leon and Castile, attracted by 


the crusading character of the wars or by the material de 
velopment of this part of Spain or perhaps fleeing from worse 
conditions in the lands whence they had come. For the 
Jews this was the happiest period they ever enjoyed in 
Catholic Spain, and great numbers of them entered Castile 
in order to escape the persecution of the Almoravides and 
Almohades. For a while they were on practically an equal 
footing socially and juridically with the Christians, and 
were one of the principal agencies for the diffusion of Moslem 
culture in Leon and Castile. By the opening of the thirteenth 
century their situation began to change with the adoption 
of restrictive measures, although it was not until the next 
period that these operated in all their harshness. As the 
conquests proceeded, great bodies of Moslems were incorpo 
rated into the Christian states, and they came to be called 
"Mudejares." Despite the growth of intolerance with 
the advance in the crusading character of the wars the 
Mudejares were in general very well treated. Aside from 
treaties of capitulation making promises to that effect, 
political and economic interests made it advisable both on 
account of the numbers of the vanquished Moslems and 
because of the need for population. Many of them, whether 
as freemen or serfs, were agricultural laborers enjoying 
considerable independence, including the right of publicly 
practising their religion. As time went on they tended to 
gather into the cities, although subjected to more restric 
tions than in the country, such as the refusal to allow 
the public practice of the Moslem faith (with a number of 
exceptions, however) or requirements that they must wear 
a distinctive dress and live in a separate section of the city. 
If they were not greatly molested in other respects they did 
have to endure very heavy taxation, even including the 
tithe for the benefit of the Christian church. The Moz&rabes, 
though of the same race and religion as the Leonese and 
Castilian population, had lived so long in contact with 
Moslem civilization that they represented a class apart, 
having their special laws differing from those of the native- 
born Christians, Naturally, they were well received. 

Among the social traits of the era may be noted a cer- 



Forms of 


in do 

tain moral laxity. Two forms of marriage were recognized, 
that of bendicidn (blessing of the church), accompanied by 
a religious ceremony, and the wedding d yuras (under oath), 
by a simple contract between the parties concerned. A 
third form of union, similar to the latter but not recognized 
as lawful wedlock, was that of barraganfa (concubinage). 
The essential conditions of barragania were permanence 
and fidelity. Both parties were supposed to be single, 
although the custom often extended to include married 
men; in the latter case, but not in the former, the children 
were held to be illegitimate. Many clergymen entered into 
this relation, despite efforts to prevent the practice. Bar 
ragania and the marriage d yuras have been considered to 
be a Christian imitation of Moslem marital customs. Di 
vorce was allowed for serious cause. The father was recog 
nized as the master of the family, although the wife and 
children gained certain financial and personal rights which 
had not formerly been accorded them. The bonds of family 
were so strong, however, that individuals who were free by 
law to emancipate themselves for example, by marriage 
often continued under the parental roof. Thus great 
family groups living in common were formed. 

As a result of the greater economic wealth, the comparative 
peace back from the frontier, and the development of the 
towns the manner of life underwent a rapid change, which 
may be summed up by saying that people began to live 
inside the house instead of out, giving more active play to 
the domestic instinct of the woman, which in its turn had 
a much needed softening effect upon the man. Houses now 
had hearths, although not always a chimney and as late as 
the twelfth century no panes of glass in the windows. Furni 
ture reached a degree of luxury and comfort far in advance 
of what it had been since the Roman era. It was heavy and 
very sober in decoration at first, but increased in adornment 
later on. Beds were an object of luxury in the eleventh 
century ; people slept on benches or on the floor. By the 
thirteenth century artisans and laborers usually had a bed, 
as also a table, two chairs, and a chest. Chairs, throughout 
the period, were low, and rarely had backs ; those with both 


arms and a back were reserved for the master of the house. 
Floors, even in palaces, were usually bare of cover. Habits 
of cleanliness were not yet very much in evidence. Cloth 
ing was customarily worn until worn out, without being 
changed or washed. At table it was rare for the diners to 
have individual plates or napkins, and the fork was not yet 
known. Bones and refuse were left on the table, or thrown 
on the floor, and the use of water for any purpose other than 
for drinking was unusual. The custom of public baths had Other 
some vogue in the cities, however. Men still lived much social 
in the open, but women habitually withdrew from public customs * 
view. Crimes against women, from those which were more 
serious down to the comparatively mild offence of pulling a 
woman s hair, were punished with extreme severity, not 
that women enjoyed high esteem or even an equal considera 
tion with men, for the supposed gallantry of the medieval 
period did not in fact exist. Men wore their hair long, and 
a long beard was considered as an indication of dignity, 
so much so, that a heavy penalty was imposed on anybody 
who pulled or cut another s beard. Amusement was pro 
vided by jugglers or by dancing and singing, especially on 
days of religious festivals, or holidays, and during the hold 
ing of fairs. Among the great people the French sport of 
the tourney was much in favor. From France, too, came 
feudal chivalry, imposing the ideals of valor, loyalty, and 
dignity (to the extent that nobody should doubt another s 
nobility, his word, or his courage) on those professing it. 
This exaggerated sense of honor led to duelling, and com 
ported ill with the real conduct of the nobles. Epidemics of 
leprosy and plagues (bubonic?) were frequent, resulting in 
the founding of hospitals and institutions of charity. 

Fundamentally, Leon and Castile had much the same Political 
political organization as before, but the popular element, and ad- 
as represented in the villas and the Cortes, began to be a s ra ~ 
real political force, and the kings increased their strength 
at the expense of the nobles, although their struggle with 
the nobility as a class was not to result in complete royal 
victory for more than two centuries yet. The throne con 
tinued elective in theory, but the tendency was for it to 


become hereditary, although the question was not definitely 
settled at this time. The right of women to reign became 
recognized with the crowning of Berenguela. In adminis 
tration many governmental districts were enlarged to in 
clude various counties, the whole being ruled by a governor 
appointed directly by the king, assisted by functionaries 
called merinos may ores? who had charge of civil and criminal 
jurisdiction. An important reform was effected by removing 
the nobles from the post of the king s representative in the 
counties and substituting officials called adelantados, whose 
authority at this time was more civil than military, and 
therefore less dangerous. 2 Still others exercised respec 
tively political and military authority. 

Begin- For centuries the kings had been in the habit of holding 

nings of councils of nobles or ecclesiastics, or both, although there 
th? Cortes. wag a tendency to exclude the churchmen. In 1137 a 

1 The word "merino" is an untranslatable term for an official 
in Spanish administration whose powers varied greatly from century 
to century. While the merinos were at times "judges of sheep- 
walks," as the word is often translated, they usually had much 
broader power as officials of the king. The merinos mayores, or 
greater merinos, were appointed by the king, with functions largely 
judicial in character and with authority extending over the greater 
provinces, such as Castile, Ledn, or Galicia. Merinos menores, 
or lesser merinos, might; be the appointees and subordinates of 
merinos mayores, or, similarly, of the corregidores, or rulers of dis 

2 The term "adelantado" comes from the fact that the officials 
so-called were "advanced," or "put forward," in the place of the 
king, to act in his name. There is some authority to the effect 
that the title was in existence as early as the tenth century, but 
it was certainly employed by the latter part of the twelfth century. 
In origin the adelantados mayores, or greater adelantados, were 
judicial officials, hearing appeals that had formerly gone to the 
king. The adelantado menor, or lesser adelantado, came into ex 
istence early in the thirteenth century, at which time he was a 
judicial officer of higher rank than the merinos, but also possessed 
extensive administrative powers. Many of the adelantados menores 
were stationed in frontier districts, and indeed they were often 
called adelantados fronterisos (frontier adelantados). It was natural, 
therefore, that they should acquire Tnfl.ft.flry functions. It was the 
adelantado fronterizo of Spain who figured so prominently in the 
conquest of the Americas. Most of the conquerors of the sixteenth 
century were adelantados. After that the title died out. Hill, 
Roscoe R., The office of adelantado , in Political science quarterly, 
v. XXVIII, no. 4; Dec., 1913. 


council of nobles at Najera was called the Cortes. The 
popular element was first admitted in 1188, at a Cortes 
held in Leon, possibly the first occasion in the history of 
Europe when representatives of the towns appeared in such 
an assembly. The first known instance in Castile occurred 
in 1250. For a number of years, Leon and Castile, though 
become a single kingdom, continued to have a separate 
Cortes. The kings called this body whenever they wished, 
although they often made promises (which they did not 
fulfil) to set regular intervals. None of the individuals 
called, whether nobles, ecclesiastics, or representatives of 
the villas (or towns), had the right to present themselves; 
that was left to the choice of the king, but the custom 
gradually became fixed that certain towns should have the 
privilege of being represented. Each member had one vote, 
but the number of representatives from the towns differed, 
without being subject to a general rule. The towns them 
selves chose who should represent them, but the methods of 
choice were various. The Cortes was allowed to make peti 
tions to the king, each branch for itself, and to fix the sum 
of money that it would grant him. It had no true legislative 
functions, but the king sought its advice, or its approval 
for his laws, and its influence was such, that it was able to 
procure desired legislation. The king presided in person 
at the opening and closing sessions, and through officials 
of his own appointment at the other meetings. The king 
continued to be the principal legislative authority, and the Legisla- 
law retained its former diversity and its fundamental basis tion. 
of privilege ; the variety even increased, with the introduc 
tion of the new social classes. The Fuero Juzgo, which was 
the common law, applied in but few respects. The kings 
did something in the way of producing greater juridical 
similarity, as by making dispositions of a general character 
at meetings of the Cortes, and by using certain municipal 
charters as types, while Ferdinand III commenced to draw 
up a uniform code, although he did not live to complete it. 

Municipal organization retained the essential features of Political 
the preceding era, such as the local assembly and the various life of 
officials, of whom the most important were the judges. The towns - 


latter came to be called alcaldes (from an Arabic term mean 
ing "the judges")? an example of Moslem influence. 
In many cities, there were representatives of the king, called 
merinos and other names. Communication with the king 
was also maintained by the use of messengers, now of the 
king, now of the city. The actual monarchical authority 
was so slight that the towns often acted with complete in 
dependence. Like the nobles they made forays against the 
Moslems on their own account, or fought one another, or 
with very good reason attacked neighboring, lawless nobles. 
For these wars they often formed leagues, or brotherhoods 
(hermandades) , of towns (or occasionally leagues which in 
cluded some nobles), for which special ordinances were 
drawn up without previously consulting the king. Some of 
the towns of the north coast were so independent that they 
joined in the wars between France and England, against 
the latter. Often the towns changed their own charters 
without royal permission, although this was not done in 
open defiance of the king, but, rather, in secret and fraudu 
lently. The privileges of the towns in respect to taxation 
(although, indeed, they paid the bulk of what the king re 
ceived from his free, Christian subjects) have already been 
mentioned. 1 Taxes were also collected within the towns for 
local purposes. In addition to revenues from direct contri 
butions the towns also imposed obligations of personal 
service on their citizens, and owned lands which formed 

1 Taxes at that time were many and varied in kind, but may be 
reduced to three types: regular contributions, but depending on 
the happening of some event; indemnities to escape rendering 
certain due services; and fines. As examples of the first type 
may be mentioned the goyosa (rejoicing) payable by a married man 
at the birth of a child ; the movicio (removal) payable whenever 
one changed his residence; the yantar, or food supplies, for the 
king and his retinue whenever he visited a town; the servicios 
(services), or subsidies, granted by the Cortes; the diezmos de mar 
(tithes of the sea), or customs duties collected at the ports. The 
most notable tax of the second class was the fonsado (foss), pay 
able by those who wished to escape the obligation of going on a mili 
tary campaign. One of the third group was the calona (fine) , due from 
the inhabitants of a region where a crime had been committed and 
the guilty person had not been found. Gradually it became the 
practice to com mute these taxes for a single payment, except for 
the fonsado and the yantar, which were not dispensed with. 


perhaps their most important source of wealth. These 
lands were of two kinds, the propios (estates "belong 
ing to" a municipality and utilized to assist in de 
fraying public expenses), which were worked directly 
or rented by the town, and the comunales, or land com 
mon, for the use of all, subject to local regulations. In 
seigniorial towns, especially in those acknowledging an 
ecclesiastical lord, great progress was made toward an ap 
proximation of the rights enjoyed by the royal towns and 
cities. They had already gained economic independence, 
but now wished to attain to political freedom as well. They 
fought against the lord s practice of arbitrarily choosing 
their principal magistrates; next, they endeavored to gain 
for their own assembly the exclusive right of choice; then 
they tried to increase the powers of the locally chosen 
officials as compared with those appointed by the lord; 
and, all along, they aimed to acquire more authority for 
their assemblies, or for the council which came to represent 
them, for example, the right to fix wages. By the open 
ing of the thirteenth century local autonomy had been 
gained at Santiago de Compostela, and many other seign 
iorial towns (both noble and ecclesiastical) had achieved 
equal, or nearly equal, good fortune. 

Justice belonged fundamentally to the king, but the The ad- 
alcaldes of the towns usually exercised civil jurisdiction, ministra- 
and often criminal as well; in some towns royal merinos tionof 
or adelantados had charge of criminal jurisdiction. The 3 
king might punish local judges, however, even removing 
them and appointing others, but this power did not in fact 
enable him to check abuses. Appeals went to the king, 
who also had the right to try in first instance the serious 
crimes of murder, assault on a woman, robbery, and others. 
In such cases the king was assisted in administering justice 
by a group of men of his own appointment, called the Cort 
(not to be confused with the Cortes), but this body merely 
advised him, for the decision was left to him. As might be 
expected in an age of disorder, punishments were atrocious, 
such, for example, as mutilation, stoning to death, 
throwing over a cliff, burning, burial alive, starvation, cook- 


ing, stripping off the skin, drowning, and hanging; only the 
last-named has survived. On the other hand, composition 
for murder, or the payment of a sum of money, was allow- 
a kle, _ for men were valuable to the state, although the 
murderer was not free from the private vengeance of the 
dead man s family. The so-called "vulgar proofs," 
such as the tests of the hot iron and hot water, and the 
wager of battle, besides torture, were employed (as else 
where in western Europe) as a means for acquiring evidence, 
but these methods were already being looked upon with 
disfavor. Real justice was in fact rare; the wealthy, es 
pecially if they were nobles, were able to take matters into 
their own hands or to procure favorable decisions, if affairs 
should reach the point of litigation. 

Methods Military service was obligatory upon all, but except for 
of war- a small royal guard there was no permanent army. Organi- 
fare * zation continued to be simple; the seigniorial troops were 

commanded by the lord or his representative, and the militia 
of the towns by an alferez (standard-bearer). 1 Large num 
bers of foreigners joined in the wars against the Moslems, 
but perhaps the most important element was that of the 
military orders. These orders had a mixed religious and 
secular character, for, while some members took the usual 
monastic vows, others were not required to do so. Aside 
from the orders of general European prominence, like that 
of the Templars, there were three which were confined to 
the peninsula, those of Calatrava, Santiago, and Alcantara, 
all formed in the middle of the twelfth century. Their 
membership became so numerous and their wealth so great 
that they constituted one more important force with which 
the kings had to reckon in the struggle for the establishment 
of royal authority, although the peril proved greater in its 
possibilities than in the fact. War was absolutely merciless, 
falling quite as heavily on the non-combatant as upon the 
opponent with arms in his hands. The enemy population 
might be subjected to the loss of their lands and to enslave 
ment, unless this seemed inadvisable, and pillage was legally 

1 At the present time the word alferez is equivalent to "sub 


recognized, with a share of the booty going to the king. 
Such weapons as the sword, lance, and pike were still the 
principal types. The use of flags was introduced as a means 
of inciting the troops to deeds of valor, while priests were 
employed to provide a like stimulus. The first navy in 
this part of Spain was the private fleet of Bishop Gelmirez 
of Santiago de Compostela. Private navies were the rule. 
The first royal navy was formed by Ferdinand III, as a result 
of the important part played by the private naval levies 
which had assisted in the taking of Seville. 

Notwithstanding the increase in privileges accorded the The 
church, the king had always intervened in its affairs, as - onks * 
by the appointment or deposition of bishops, and even by ^J^i 
taking under his own jurisdiction certain cases on appeal re fonn. 
from the ecclesiastical courts. The monks of Cluny, in 
fluential in so many respects, set about to uproot the de 
pendence of the church upon the king and to bring about a 
closer relation of the clergy with the papacy. Aided by 
the piety of the kings themselves they were able to achieve 
their ends, although the monarchs maintained that the 
pope s measures should not be valid in the royal dominions 
without governmental consent. Thenceforth, the pope 
and his legates began to take the place of the king in church 
affairs. The same centralizing policy of the monks of Cluny 
and the great popes of the era was employed to bring the 
Castilian church into uniformity with that of Rome in 
matters of doctrine and rite. Some difficulty was ex 
perienced in the latter respect, for the Spanish people were 
attached to their form of worship, which was called the 
Visigothic, or Mozarabic, rite. Earlier popes had recog 
nized this as orthodox, but Gregory VII asked Alfonso VI 
to abolish it. The king was willing, but the people and the 
clergy were not. The matter was once left to the decision 
of the wager of battle, and again to that of fire, but in each 
case the local rite came out victorious. Finally, the king 
rode roughshod over judicial proofs, and abolished the local 
rite. 1 It was in this period, therefore, that the hierarchy 

1 It is still allowed to exist in a chapel of the cathedral of Toledo, 
and in another of Salamanca. 


of the church, depending on the pope, was established in 
Spain. At this time, too, the monasteries (and the military 
orders as well) became independent of the bishops, and as 
cended to the pope, or his legate, through the medium of 
their abbots (or grand masters). The increasing wealth 
and privileges of the church have already been sufficiently 
alluded to; many of the orders degenerated greatly, even 
that of the monks of Cluny, as a result of the luxury which 
their means permitted. At the moment when clerical 
ostentation had become greatest there came the founding 
of the mendicant orders, early in. the thirteenth century. 
In the peninsula, as elsewhere, these orders (whose principal 
vow was poverty) achieved a great work for the church; 
the Franciscans went chiefly among the poor, and the 
Dominicans dealt more with the upper classes, but both 
preached the necessity for repentance and for conversion 
to the faith. 1 They also contributed greatly to doing away 
with the loose practices which had become current among 
the clergy in all parts of Christendom. One such practice 
persisted, despite their efforts, the earlier efforts of the 
monks of Cluny, and the continuous opposition of the kings 
(translated into severe laws), that of priests entering 
into the form of union called barragania. 

Aragon proper 

Social in- In institutions, Aragon proper must be distinguished, 
stitutions throughout this period, from the Catalonian region of the 
in Aragon. g rea t e r kingdom of Aragon. Social differences were much 
more marked than in Leon and Castile, for there was an 
excessively privileged feudal nobility, which had a despotic 
power over the servile classes ; the movement for emancipa 
tion from slavery and serfdom belongs to a much later time. 
Lords bad a right even to kill their serfs. Slavery (con 
fined usually to Moslems) was not personal, for the slaves 
were attached legally to the land. What has been said for 
Castile as regards the church, the Jews, Mozarabes, and 
Mudejares applies generally for Aragon. There were more 
1 To Saint Dominic is due the institution of the rosary. 


Mudejares than in Castile, but, although they enjoyed 
equality with Christians before the law, they were on a 
lower plane socially, and were more heavily taxed. The 
practice of living in communal family groups was the rule 
in Aragon. 

The nobles had privileges of a political, as well as of a Political 
social character, being virtually sovereigns on their own life ^d 
estates. One noteworthy officiai to develop was the Justicia ^ >dl 
(Justice, or Justiciar), charged with hearing cases of viola- Aragon. 
tion of privilege and complaints generally against the authori 
ties. The nobles tried to take the appointment of this 
official to themselves, but failing in this were, nevertheless, 
able to compel Jaime I to recognize that the functions of the 
Justida were to be exercised in his own right, and not by 
delegation of the king, for example, in cases in which the 
Justicia acted as judge, or mediator, between the nobles 
and the king. The free towns usually sided with the crown, 
as in Castile, but they were not nearly so numerous, and not 
equally an agency for the liberation of the servile classes. 
According to some writers they were represented in the 
Cortes as early as 1163 (whiqh was earlier than in Le6n), but 
others make 1274 the date of their entry. There were four 
estates in the Aragonese Cortes, the higher nobility, the 
caballeros, the clergy, and the representatives of the towns. 
Aragon and Catalonia continued to have a separate Cortes 
after the union of the two states, and Valencia also received 
one of its own, but there were times when a general Cortes 
of the entire kingdom was held. The principal form of 
legislation was that of the royal charters. The same diver 
sity of law existed as in Castile, but Jaime I did something 
to bring about unification by having a code drawn up. ^ This 
code, called the Compilacitin de Canellas (Compilation of 
Canellas), for one Canellas was the compiler, embodied the 
traditional law of Aragon, supplemented by principles of 
equity. It did not do away with the charters, applying 
only to matters which they did not cover. The Roman 
law of Justinian and the canon law, both of which greatly 
favored the king, were beginning to be studied, but the 
nobility opposed the assertion of these legal principles in 


courts of law. Taxes fell more heavily and more vexatiously 
on the common people than they did in Castile, but a greater 
proportion went to the lords and less to the king ; Jaime I 
had to give his note for the royal dinners, at times, and he 
paid his tailor by an exemption from taxation. The king 
was not always able to persuade his nobles to join him in 
war, though hi other respects the military customs resembled 
those of Castile. The principal difference hi the religious 
history of the two regions was that the influence of the monks 
of Cluny in favor of ecclesiastical dependence on the pope 
was much earlier accepted in Aragon; the Visigothic, or 
Mozarabic, rite was abolished as early as 1071. Pedro IPs 
submission of the kingdom to the pope was not well received, 
however, by either the nobility or the people of both Aragon 
and Catalonia. 


Social in- Different as Catalonia was from Aragon, the two regions 
stitutions had many features in common because of the existence of 
in Cata- feudalism. The feudal hierarchy was composed of counts, 
viscounts, vafaasores (barons), and free vassals, of whom the 
first three grades were noble. Underneath was the institu 
tion of serfdom, equally harsh as in Aragon, and almost 
equally late in advancing toward emancipation. Personal 
slavery (of Moslem prisoners of war, as a rule) also existed. 
There were not many Mozarabes or Mudejares, but the 
Jews were fairly numerous. All enjoyed the same lenient 
treatment as that accorded in Castile and Aragon, with 
a beginning of restrictive measures at the end of the period. 
The middle class of the cities was more important than in 
Aragon, especially in the coast cities or towns, where the 
citizens engaged in commerce. Although the communal 
family group was the general rule in Catalonia, this institu 
tion was considerably modified by the existence of the law 
of primogeniture, causing the entailment of landed properties 
to each successive eldest son, a variation from the Fuero 
Juzgo. This aided in economic prosperity, because it kept 
estates intact, and influenced younger brothers to go forth 
in or4er to build up estates of their own. In other respects, 


social customs did not vary materially from those of Aragon 
and Castile. 1 

The only new factor of interest in general political and Political 
administrative organization was the increase in the actual ^ e and 
authority of the counts of Barcelona (and, similarly, after ^ ation s ^ 
they became kings of Aragon), although on the same legal Catalonia, 
basis of feudalism as before. This came about through the 
uniting of most of the counties in the single family of the 
counts of Barcelona, who therefore were able to exercise a 
decisive influence in Catalonian affairs. The rise in im- impor- 
portance of Barcelona was the most notable event in mu- tance of 
nicipal history. Its commerce and wealth were so great, Barcelona, 
and its prestige as capital of the county so influential, that it 
exercised a veritable hegemony over the other towns. Each 
year the general assembly elected five councillors, who in 
turn appointed a council of one hundred, or Consell de Cent, 
which was the principal governing body of the ^city. The 
city was allowed to coin money and to appoint consuls 
charged with looking after the business interests of Barce 
lona in foreign lands. The Consell also had mercantile 
jurisdiction. The Catalan commercial customs were to 
pass over in a developed form into Castile, and from there 
to the Americas. The Catalonian Cortes had but three 
estates, and was in other respects similar to that of Castile. 
The representatives of the towns were admitted in 1218, but 
their right to appear was not definitely affirmed until 1282. 
Barcelona had unusual weight in that body, for it possessed 
five votes. The Usatges (the code adopted in the reign 
of Ramon Berenguer I) merely expressed in writing the 
feudal customs which were already in vogue, and therefore 
it was generally observed. It did not supersede the char 
ters, the Fuero Juzgo, and local customs, all of which con 
tinued in effect. The Roman and canon law, despite the 
resistance of the nobility, came to be regarded as supple 
mentary to other legal sources, although not as of right 
until centuries later. In naval affairs Catalonia was far 

i A curious law of Jaime I recommended that ladies of noble 
rank should not offer food or lodging to jugglers, or even give them 



The royal 
power in 
the social 
and politi 
cal life of 

in the 

ahead of the rest of Spain. Both a merchant and a naval 
marine had existed since the ninth century, and the former 
was encouraged by the suppression of taxes and by favorable 
treaties with the Italian states. The navy had become a 
permanent state institution by the middle of the twelfth 
century (in the reign of Ramon Berenguer IV). Individual 
lords and towns had naval vessels of their own, however. 
The history of the church followed the same course as in 
Aragon ; the Roman rite was adopted in the time of Ramon 
Berenguer I (1035-1076). 


When Jaime I conquered Valencia, he had an opportunity 
to put into effect some of his ideas with regard to strength 
ening the principle of monarchy, and did not fail to take 
advantage of it. In the distribution of lands among the 
nobles, the king was recognized as the only lord ; further 
more, the majority of the lands were given outright, in small 
parcels, to middle class proprietors, subject only to the royal 
and the neighborhood taxes. Most of the recipients were 
Catalans, and thus the Catalan civilization came to pre 
dominate in Valencia. The most numerous body of the 
population, however, was that of the Mudejares. Many 
of these were not molested in their estates and their busi 
ness, and some were even granted lands, but the majority 
were obliged to pay heavy taxes in return for the royal 
protection. The Mudejar uprisings led to the introduction 
of more rigorous measures. In political affairs, too, Jaime I 
established a system more favorable to monarchy. The 
nobles wished to have the Aragonese law apply, but the 
king introduced new legislation whereby the greater part of 
the authority rested with him. The Valencian Cortes, of 
three branches, dates from 1283. 

Balearic Islands 

Jaime I pursued the same policy in the Balearic Islands 
as in Valencia, avoiding the evils of feudalism, and treating 
the Mudejares well, for here too they were in the majority. 



The extreme of feudal organization, similar to that in Feudalism 
Aragon, existed in Navarre, French peoples were an im- and 

portant element in the population, and the power of the J 1 * 6110 * 1 *?- 
r , <. n j Ai.ii i j_i i fluences in 

monks of Cluny was unusually great. Although the kings 

established hereditary succession, the nobles continued to 
be virtually absolute on their estates. The towns did not 
become as important a power as elsewhere in Spain, and it 
was not until the next era, possibly in the year 1300, that 
their representatives were admitted to the Cortes. 







Moslem Spain 

THE political vicissitudes of Moslem Spain could not fail 
to have an unfavorable effect on industry and commerce. 
The economic decline did not at once manifest itself and 
was not continuous in any event, for the periods of depres 
sion were often followed by others of great prosperity. 
Agriculture, industry, and the arts profited by new impulses, 
and trade was carried on with eastern Mediterranean lands. 
The Christian conquests meant an end of these commercial 
relations, but many of the industries survived in the hands 
of Moslems, now become Mudejares. 

In intellectual culture, Moslem Spain was even greater than 
it had been in the days of its political power, at least in 
the higher manifestations of that culture. The taifa kings 
encouraged freedom of thought and expression, even when 
unorthodox; yet, in literature and science the greatest 
heights were reached, by both Jewish and Moslem writers, 
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, during the rule of 
the intolerant Almoravides and Almohades. That, too, was 
the period of their greatest influence on the Christians. 
The principal service of Moslem Spain to western Europe 
was, as has been said, the transmission of Greek thought, 
although not in its purity, but with the modifications and 
variants of its later days, especially those of the Alexandrian 
school. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries many 
European scholars of note visited Spain, and took back 



with them the Greco-oriental thought which was to be the 
chief basis of the philosophy and science of Christendom, 
until the true Greek texts were discovered at the time of 
the Renaissance. The Moslems were further advanced 
in medicine than the other western European peoples, and 
were the first in Europe since the days of the Greeks to culti 
vate the study of botany. In pure mathematics and its 
applications, such as in astronomy and the pseudo-science 
of astrology, they were equally to the fore. Their greatest 
influence was to make itself felt, however, in the realm of 
philosophy, especially in the works of Averroes and Mai- Averroes 
monides, scholars who are to be compared with Saint Isidore, and 
both as respects the greatness of their achievements, and Mai 
as concerns the breadth, almost universality, of their at- es * 
tainments. Averroes of Cordova (1126-1198), as com 
mentator and propagator of the ideas of Aristotle and Plato, 
was perhaps the principal resort of western European 
scholarship for an early knowledge of Greek thought. He 
was also a distinguished doctor and mathematician. Mai- 
monides (or Moises ben Maimon), also of Cordova (1139- 
1205), was the founder of the rationalistic explanation of 
Jewish doctrine and a bitter opponent of the neoplatonism l 
of the Alexandrian school, but he was much influenced by 
Aristotle, whose ideas he contributed to disseminate in 
western Europe. He was also a celebrated physician. In 
addition to individual treatises on the various sciences, 
many encyclopedias were written inclusive of all. As 
might be expected, the rhetorical taste of Moslem Spain 
found abundant expression, in both poetry and prose, and 
in subject-matter of a heroic, fabulous, satirical, or amatory 
character. History, which at this time was more akin to 
literature than to science, was also much cultivated. Aben- 
Hayydn of Cordova wrote a history in sixty volumes, of 
the epoch in which he lived ; and there were others almost 

1 Neoplatonism was a late and decadent form of the Greek 
philosophies. It endeavored to unite the precepts of Christian, 
Jewish, and oriental religions, and displayed a disregard for the 
empirical investigation of the universe, holding that the way to 
redemption lay through rising superior to the material manifesta 
tions of life. 


equally prolific who dealt with different phases of the history 
of Moslem Spain. In the sciences, Jewish scholars followed 
the current of their Moslem masters, but in philosophy and 
literature they developed originality, inspired by their 
religious sentiments. Their poetry had a somewhat more 
elevated tone than that of the Moslems. 

Architeo- Although the Almoravides and Almohades were great 

tural builders, this period was less important in Moslem architec- 

medio- ^ ure t j ian e fther the preceding or the following eras. The 

cn y " principal characteristic seems to have been a withdrawal 

from Visigothic and classical forms, but the execution was 

less correct and in poorer taste than formerly. 

Le6n and Castile 

Advance The advance of the conquests, leaving large areas back 
of agri- from the frontier in the enjoyment of a measure of peace, 

cul j Ur f i furthered economic development. There continued to be 

and stock- . ., ,, . . c , , 

raising. C1V1 * wars m tne interior, and personal security against 
abuses of the lords and the attacks of bandits was none too 
great, but matters were very much better than before, as a 
result of legislation favorable to property, the greater im 
portance of the towns, and the emancipation of the servile 
classes. Agriculture was encouraged, for example, by 
laws granting unbroken lands to whoever should cultivate 
them. The conquest made itself directly felt through the 
introduction of the vine and the olive of Moslem Spain into 
regions which had not previously cultivated them. Works 
of irrigation and the buildings of roads, so important for 
the agricultural prosperity of Spain, seem not to have been 
undertaken, however. Stock-raising was much more ac 
tively pursued than agriculture, due in part to the traditional 
importance of that occupation, and in part to the ease with 
which that form of wealth could be withdrawn from the 
hazards of war, an advantage which agriculture, naturally, 
could not share. The age-long war of the stock-raisers 
against the farmers was usually favorable to the former, 
who were wont to appropriate commons for their animals 
and even to enter cultivated fields and damage or despoil 


them. Associations of stock-raisers to protect their interests 
were already in existence. 

In the thirteenth century Castilian Spain made a be- Industrial 
ginning of industrial and commercial life, of which Santiago and G 
de Compostela had been perhaps the only representative 
prior to that date. Laborers united in guilds, just as in 
other western European lands, working together according 
to the laws of their guild, and living in the same street. 
Many of them were foreigners, Jews, or Mudejares. An 
export trade of raw materials and wine developed between 
the towns of the north coast and the merchants of Flanders, 
England, and Germany, and just at the end of the period 
the capture of Seville added commercial wealth to Castile, 
through the trade of that city in the western Mediterranean. 
Interior commerce still encountered the difficulties which 
had harassed it in earlier times, but some of them were over 
come through the development of fairs to facilitate exchange. 
Certain days in the year, usually corresponding with the 
feast of the patron saint of the town, were set aside by im 
portant centres for a general market, or fair, on which oc 
casions special measures were undertaken to assure the 
safety of the roads and to protect all who might attend, 
Moslem and Jews as well as Christians. Men naturally 
travelled in large groups at such times, which was an addi 
tional means of security. The season of the fair might be 
the only occasion in a year when a town could procure a 
supply of goods not produced at home, wherefore this in 
stitution assumed great importance. The increased use 
of coin as a medium of exchange demonstrates the com 
mercial advance of this period over the preceding. 

In every branch of intellectual culture there was a vigorous The in- 
awakening at this time. The classical traditions of the telleetual 
Spanish clergy and the Mozarabes were reinforced by a ^ ake31 - 
western European influences coming especially from France, mg " 
while the Greco- oriental culture of the Mudejares and 
Mozarabes merged with the former to produce a Spanish 
civilization, which became marked after the conquests of 
the thirteenth century. In the twelfth century universities 
had sprung up in Italy and France, where the Roman and 




nings of 

the canon law, theology, and philosophy were taught. In 
those countries the formal organization of the universities 
had grown naturally out of the gatherings of pupils around 
celebrated teachers, but Spain had no Irnerius or Aboard, 
wherefore the origins of the universities of the peninsula 
were the result of official initiative. In 1212 or 1214 Alfonso 
VIII founded a university at Palencia, but this institution 
lived only thirty-one years. About the year 1215 Alfonso IX 
of Leon made a beginning of the more celebrated University 
of Salamanca, the fame of which belongs, however, to the 
next following era. By the close of the eleventh century 
the Castilian language had become definitely formed, as 
also the Leonese and Galician variants. By the middle of 
the twelfth century all three had become written languages, 
and, by the middle of the thirteenth, Latin works were 
already being translated into the Romance tongues. 

One of the earliest forms of Romance literature was that 
of popular poetry of an epic character, singing the deeds of 
Christian warriors. This was of French origin, coming in 
with French crusaders and the monks of Cluny. Two long 
poems of this class, both dealing with the life of the Cid, 
have been preserved. One, the Poema (Poem), is believed 
to date from the middle of the twelfth century, while the 
other, the Crdnica (Chronicle), is probably of later origin. 
Both mix legend with fact, but the former is the less legend 
ary. In the thirteenth century another type of poetry 
developed in Castile called mester de derecw (office of the 
clergy), also bound up with French influences, but more 
erudite and formally correct and usually religious in sub 
ject-matter, a Spanish expression of European scholasticism. 
From the side of Aragon came the influence of southern 
France, in the lyrical and erotic poetry of the Proven9al 
troubadours. Galicia was much affected by these foreign 
impulses, due to the journeys of pilgrims to Santiago de 
Compostela, and developed a notable poetry of its own. In 
this period, too, the Castilian theatre had its origins, in the 
mystery plays of the church and in the popular performances 

the drama. o f j u ggl er s in the streets. Whereas the former were in the 
nature of a religious ceremony, the latter, which were ulti- 


mately to exercise the greater influence, were of a secular 
character, usually satirical, and given to great liberty of 

In historical literature there were two names of some note History 
in this period. Rodrigo Jimenez de Rada, archbishop of and 
Toledo (1170-1247), reduced the early Spanish chronicles scieilce - 
to a narrative form, embellished by erudite references which 
his classical knowledge enabled him to employ. He may be 
regarded as the father of Spanish historiography. Naturally, 
given the age, his works were not free from legends and errors, 
and do not display the critical spirit of modern times. Bishop 
Lucas of Tuy (died 1288), though far inferior to Jimenez 
de Rada in both method and criticism, wrote a life of Saint 
Isidore and other works which enjoyed great popularity in 
the thirteenth century. In scientific literature there were 
no great names, for this was a period of study and the trans 
lation of Arabic and western European texts, rather than 
one of original composition. 

Just as the Romance tongues replaced the Latin, so Roman- 
Romanesque architecture took the place of the decadent esque 
classical styles. Although there was not a little variety in 
details, this style was characterized in Leon and Castile by 
an accentuation of the cruciform ground plan, robustness 
of form, heaviness in proportions, and profuse ornamenta 
tion, often of a rude type. Arches were sometimes round, 
and sometimes slightly pointed. Over the crossing there 
often appeared a polygonal dome or a tower with arcades 
and a cap. The wooden roof was supplanted by barrel- 
vaulting in stone, and this led to a strengthening of the 
walls, reducing the window space, and to the use of heavy 
piers or columns and of exterior buttresses attached to the 
walls. The west front, or portal, of churches was adorned 
in luxurious style, notably with the sculptured work of men, 
animals, or foliage. At the same time, new influences 
proceeding out of France were making themselves felt, and 
by the thirteenth century the so-called Gothic style of Early 
architecture was firmly established. In this the entire edifice 
was subordinated to the treatment of the vault, which at- 
tained to a great height through the use of the true pointed 


arch and of transversals to receive the weight of the vault 
For this purpose the flying buttress, now free from the walls, 
was greatly developed. Edifices not only became higher, 
but also were enabled to use a large amount of space for 
windows, since the walls no longer had to sustain the thrust. 
At the same time decorative effects were increased, not only 
in porticoes, but also in the glass of the windows, the capitals 
of columns, water-spouts, pinnacles and towers, and in 
various forms of sculpture. The spaces between the but 
tresses were often filled in to form chapels. Remarkable 
as was the advance made in architecture, the work of this 
period was sober and robust when compared with the later 
Gothic work. Nevertheless, the development was very 
great, and is to be explained, very largely, by social causes, 
such as the advance in the population and importance of 
the cities and of the middle class. Greater cathedrals were 
therefore needed, but they were also desired from motives 
of vanity, which prompt new social forces to construct great 
monuments. The cathedrals became not only a religious 
centre but also a place of meeting for the discussion of busi 
ness and political affairs, the heart and soul of the cities in 
which they were located. Gothic architecture also mani 
fested itself in military and civil edifices. The castle was 
the characteristic type of the former. The material now 
became stone, instead of wood. As in other parts of Europe, 
there were the surrounding moat and the bridge, the walls 
with their salients and towers, the buildings inside for the 
artisans on the one hand, and for the lord and his soldiers 
on the other, and the powerfully built tower of homage to 
serve as a last resort. The growth of the towns gave rise 
to the erection of local government buildings, or town halls, 
and private dwellings began to have an important architec- 
Mudljar tural character. Another style of architecture, usually 
architec- called Mudejar, existed in this period, combining Arabic 
w ith Christian elements, of which the latter were Gothic 
of a simplified character. The roof was of wood, but with 
the ornamentation of the period. The body of the edifice 
was of brick, which was left without covering on the outside, 
giving a reddish tone to the building. Sculpture had an 


important vogue as an adjunct of architecture. Gradually, Sculpture, 
it passed from the badly proportioned, stiff figures of the painting, 
earlier years to something approaching realism and to a * nd the 
great variety of form. Painting was notable only for its esser ar s 
use in the adornment of manuscripts and of windows, and 
in these respects the work done was of a high order. Both 
sculpture and painting were employed to represent sacred 
history or allegory. Rich tiles were much used, both in the 
form of azulejos, and in that of compositions of human 
figures, in which the usual symbolism appeared. The gold 
work and furniture also bore witness to the greater wealth 
of this period as compared with earlier times. 

Aragorij Catalonia, and Valencia 

Much that has been said about Leon and Castile as re- Economic 
gards material prosperity might be repeated for Aragon, differences 
Catalonia, and Valencia. Aragon proper was the poorest 
part of this region, economically. Stock-raising and indus- 
tries growing out of it were the principal occupations there. 
Catalonia, though not backward in agriculture, was not too 
well adapted to it, since certain crops, notably grain, could 
not be raised, but it had a varied industrial life and an active 
commerce. Valencia was the most favored region, being 
agriculturally wealthy, on account of the extensive use of 
irrigation, and, like Catalonia, having a rich industrial and 
commercial life. This was true also of Majorca. The Catalan 
Catalans had been engaged in Mediterranean commerce commerce, 
since the ninth century, but in this period their trade reached 
much greater proportions. Although Catalan boats went to 
every part of the Mediterranean, the principal relations were 
with Italy; there were frequent commercial treaties with 
Pisa and Genoa. Jaime I brought about the sending of 
commercial representatives, or consuls, to foreign countries, 
and was responsible f T the establishment of mercantile 
bodies, called consulados de mar (commercial tribunals of 
the sea) in Catalan ports. A special maritime law sprang 
up, and was embodied in a code, called the Libra del consulado 
de mar (Book of the consulado of the sea). 




tntellec- The intellectual movement in Aragon and Catalonia ran 
tual mani- along lines parallel to that in Leon and Castile, but with 
festations. more f re quent contact with French and Italian thought. 
Jaime I followed the custom of the era in founding universi 
ties, establishing one at Lerida and another at Valencia. 
One great name appeared in the literary history of this period, 
reaching over into the next, that of Raimundo Lulio, known 
to English scholars as Raymond Lull, or Lully (1232-1315), 
a philosopher, mystic, and poet, who wrote many books which 
had a noteworthy influence on European thought. Writing 
in the vulgar tongue and in a style adapted to the general 
public, he attacked the pantheistic ideals of Averroes and 
held that all sciences, though they have their individual 
principles, lead to a single all-embracing science, which, for 
him, was Christianity; in other words, he represented the 
reconcilement of Christianity with reason and science. 
The development of the Romance tongues followed the same 
course as in Castile, but the Catalan became widely separated 
from the other peninsular tongues, being more akin to the 
Provencal, or language of southern France. The Proven?al 
influence on poetry was earlier in evidence in Catalonia 
than in Castile, and was more pronounced. Lyric poetry, 
accompanied by music, was so high in favor that great 
nobles and the kings themselves cultivated it. Alfonso II 
(1162-1196) was the first Spanish troubadour, and other 
kings followed, including Jaime I. History was the most 
important form of prose literature, and the principal work 
was that of Jaime I himself, a chronicle of the vicissitudes of 
his reign. Jaime I also compiled a collection of proverbs 
and the sayings of wise men. 

The Romanesque art of this region was less heavy and 
more gracefully proportioned than that of Castile, pos 
sibly, the result of Italian influences. Catalan Gothic 
architecture was especially affected by Italian art, so 
much so, that it lacked some of the principal elements of 

the Gothic. 


Attention need be called only to the profound French 
influence in this region. 





AFTER the death of Ferdinand III and of Jaime I the General 
reconquest of Spain from the Moslems came to a virtual character 
standstill for over two centuries. Some slight accessions ^ ies of 
of territory were obtained by Castile, but no serious effort 
was made to acquire the only remaining enemy stronghold, 
the kingdom of Granada. Conditions had changed to such 
an extent that Moslem Spain for the first time in more than 
five centuries was of secondary and even minor importance. 
Castile and Aragon devoted their principal attention to 
other affairs, and both took great strides ahead in the march 
of civilization. In Castile the chief problems were of an 
internal social and political nature. On the one hand this 
period marked the change from a seigniorial country type of 
life to that of the developed town as the basis of society; 
on the other it witnessed the struggle of monarchy and the 
ideal of national unity against seigniorial anarchy and 
decentralization for which the lords (including many of the 
great churchmen) and the towns contended. As before, 
the king s principal opponents were the nobles, and the civil 
wars of this era, whatever the alleged causes, were really 
only the expression of the struggle just referred to. Out 
wardly the kings appeared to have been defeated, but ^ in 
no period of the history of Spain has the external narrative 
been more at variance with the actual results, as shown by 
a study of the underlying institutions, than in this. The 
real victory lay with monarchy and unity, and this was to 
be made manifest in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella 
following this era. That reign was therefore the true end 










of this period, but as it was even more the beginning of 
modern Spain it has been left for separate treatment. The 
institutions of Castile from the thirteenth to the fifteenth 
century were therefore of more than usual importance, and 
particularly so since they formed the basis for the system 
which Spain was so soon to establish in the Americas. In 
almost every aspect of life, social, political, economic, and 
intellectual, Castile forged as far ahead over the preceding 
period as that had over the one before it, although it did 
not reach that high and intricate culture which is the product 
of modern times. Castile was still medieval, like nearly all 
of Europe, but the new age was close at hand. 

Alfonso X "the Learned," or "the Wise" (1252-1284), 
was one of the kings whose reign seemed to be a failure, but 
in fact it was he who sowed the seed which w r as to bring 
about an eventual victory for the principles of monarchy 
and national unity. Besides being a profound scholar 
Alfonso was a brave and skilful soldier, but his good traits 
were balanced by his lack of decision and will power, which 
caused him to be unnecessarily stubborn and extremely 
variable. He engaged in a number of campaigns against 
the Moslems, and made some minor conquests, but these 
wars were of slight consequence except as they bore on his 
struggles with the nobles. The same thing may be said for 
Alfonso s European policy, which aimed not only at the 
aggrandizement of Castile but also at his acquisition of the 
title of Holy Roman Emperor. The kings of Castile had 
long claimed the throne of Navarre, and Alfonso now at 
tempted to invade that realm, but desisted when it seemed 
that this might lead to complications with Jaime I of Aragon. 
He also had a legal claim to the Basque province of Gascony, 
which had come to the throne of Castile as the dowry of 
the wife of Alfonso VIII, and planned to incorporate it into 
a de facto part of the kingdom, but he renounced his rights 
to England upon the marriage of his sister to Prince Edward, 
the later Edward I, of England. In 1257 the imperial elec 
tors chose Alfonso X as Holy Roman Emperor, but many 
German princes supported the pretensions of an English 
earl of Cornwall, and on the latter s death those of Count 


Rudolph of Hapsburg. For sixteen years Alfonso endeavored 
to get possession of the imperial title, going to great expense 
in wars for that purpose, but the opposition of the popes, 
wars with Granada and with his own nobles, and a general 
lack of sympathy with the project in Castile combined to 
prevent him from even making a journey to Germany in 
order to be crowned. In 1273 Rudolph of Hapsburg was 
formally chosen emperor, and Alfonso s opportunity passed. 

Meanwhile, influenced by the Roman law, Alfonso had Causes of 
been enunciating monarchical doctrines which were at ^. s strife 
variance with the selfish and unscrupulous designs of the J^ies 
nobles, who fought the king at every turn. Other causes 
for strife existed, but they were not fundamental. These 
were, especially, the unwise measures employed by Alfonso 
to procure funds for his sadly depleted treasury, and on 
the other hand his extravagant liberality. Alfonso reduced 
the tribute due from Granada, debased the coinage, increased 
the salaries of court officials, expended enormous sums in 
celebration of the marriage of his eldest son, and was responsi 
ble for other acts of a like character. In line with his claim 
of absolute royal power he ceded the province of Algarve to 
the king of Portugal, renounced his right to homage from 
that king, and as already noted gave Gascony to England, 
all of which he did on his own authority. These acts were 
alleged by the nobles, who fought him themselves, or even 
went so far as to join the Moslems of Granada and Morocco 
against him. The most serious period of the struggle was 
reserved for the last years of the reign. This was precipi 
tated by a fresh appearance of the Moslem peril. 

The Almohades had been succeeded in their rule of northern War of 
Africa by the Benimerines, who were invited by the Moslems succession 
of Granada to join them in a war against Castile. The in- ]^^ 
vitation was accepted, but, although the Benimerines landed and 
and were for a time victorious, the danger was averted. Sancho. 
Its chief importance was that the king s eldest son, Fernando 
de la Cerda, was killed in battle in 1275, thereby precipitat 
ing a dynastic question. According to the laws of succession 
which Alfonso had enacted the eldest son of the dead prince 
should have been next heir to the throne, but this did not 


suit Alfonso s second son, Sancho, who alleged the superiority 
of his own claim. He did not fail to support his pretension 
by promises of favors to disaffected nobles, which procured 
him a backing strong enough to persuade Alfonso himself 
to name Sancho as his heir. Later, Alfonso decided to form 
a new kingdom in the territory of Jaen, though subject to 
Castile, for the benefit of his grandson. Sancho objected, 
and persisted even to the point of war, which broke out in 
1281. The partisans of Sancho, who included nearly all 
of the nobles, the clergy, and most of the towns, held a 
Cortes in Valladolid in 1282, and deposed Alfonso. The 
-latter soon won over some of Sancho s followers, and con 
tinued the war, but died in 1284, disinheriting Sancho, 
leaving Castile to his grandson and smaller kingdoms in 
southern Spain to two of his younger sons. 

Saneho That the elements which supported Sancho- were really 

"the fighting for their own independent jurisdiction was early 

Brave.- made clear. In 1282 they obtained an acknowledgment 
from Sancho of the right of the nobles and towns to rise in 
insurrection against the illegal acts of the king, and to bring 
royal officials and judges to trial for their maladministration, 
being privileged to inflict the death penalty on them. With 
their aid he was able to set aside his father s will and become 
King Sancho IV (1284-1295), later styled "the Brave." 
Once in possession of the throne he too showed a disposition 
to check the turbulence of the nobles, for it was as impossible 
for a king to admit the arbitrary authority of the lords as 
it was for the latter to accept the same attribute in the king. 
Internal strife continued, but the pretext changed, for 
Sancho s opponents alleged the will of Alfonso in justifica 
tion of their insurrections. Sancho was at least an energetic 
character, and put down his enemies with a stern hand, on 
one occasion having no less than four thousand partisans 
of his nephew put to death. His brother Juan, whom 
Sancho had deprived of the small kingdom which Alfonso 
had left him, gave him the most trouble, at one time enlisting 
the aid of the Benimerines, but without success. 1 

1 The wars of Sancho and Juan gave rise to the celebrated act 
of heroism of Guzman el Bueno. Guzman was governor of Tarifa, 


Ferdinand IV "the Summoned" 1 (1295-1312) was only Ferdinand 
nine years old when his father died, wherefore the opponents "the Sum- 
of strong monarchy seized the occasion for a new period of moned -" 
civil strife which lasted fourteen years. His uncle, Juan, 
and his cousin, Alfonso, 2 renewed their pretensions, furnish 
ing an opportunity for the lords and towns to join one side 
or the other, according as they could best serve their own 
interests, as also affording a chance for the intervention of 
Portugal, Aragon, France, and Granada with a view to 
enlarging their kingdoms. Although the towns usually 
supported the king, they did so at the price of such privileges 
as had been exacted from Sancho in 1282, showing that they 
had the same spirit of feudal independence as the lords, 
despite the monarchical sentiment of the middle class and 
the interest which they had in common with the king in 
checking the turbulence of the lords. That the king was 
able to extricate himself from these difficulties was due in 
greatest measure to his mother, Maria de Molina, one of Maria de 
the regents during his minority. By her political skill, Molina, 
added to the prestige of her word and presence, she was 
able to attract many towns and nobles to Ferdinand s side 
and to separate the more dangerous foreign enemies from 
the conflict against him. This she did not do without mak 
ing concessions, but, at any rate, by the time the king had 
attained his majority ut the age of sixteen the most serious 
perils had been overcome. Ferdinand IV showed himself 

and had promised Sancho that he would not surrender the place. 
Juan appeared before Tarifa with a Moslem army, and threatened 
to kill Guzma n s infant son, whom he had in his power, unless the 
fortress were delivered. Guzman preferred to keep faith with his 
king, and sent his own dagger for Juan to use in fulfilling his threat. 
Juan had the boy beheaded in front of the walls of Tarifa, but 
failed to take the town. The incident is illustrative of the savage 
brutality of the age, and was a rather unusual instance for that 
time of keeping political faith at any cost. 

1 So called from a legend respecting his death. He is said to 
have ordered two men put to death for a crime which they pro 
tested they did not commit. As the sentence was being executed 
they summoned Ferdinand to appear before the tribunal of God 
within thirty days, and on the thirtieth day thereafter Ferdinand 
was dead. 

2 The eldest son of Fernando de la Cerda, and therefore the 
rightful king according to the laws of Alfonso X. 



Able rule 
of Alfonso 
XI in do 

an ingrate, demanding a strict account from his mother of 
her use of the public funds. Not only was she able to justify 
her administration, but she also demonstrated her devotion 
to her son s interests on later occasions, causing the failure 
of two insurrections headed by Ferdinand s uncle, Juan. 
Ferdinand made several minor campaigns against the 
Moslems, but died while engaged in one of them, leaving as 
his heir a year old boy. 

Alfonso XI (1312-1350) shares with Alfonso X the honor 
of being-the greatest Castilian king of this era, and he was 
by far more successful than his great-grandfather had been. 
Naturally, civil wars broke out at the beginning of the 
reign ; a dispute over the regency served as one of the pre 
texts. Maria de Molina came forward again, and saved 
her grandson as she had saved his father, although she was 
unable to put down the insurrections. In 1325, when he 
was but fourteen years old, Alfonso was declared of age, and 
began his reign with an act which was characteristic of the 
man and his time. He summoned an uncle of his, his prin 
cipal opponent, to a meeting at his palace, under a pretence 
of coming to an agreement with him, and when the latter 
came had him put to death. He tried the same policy with 
success against other leaders, and intimidated the rest so 
that he soon had the situation under control. Alfonso 
combined a hand of iron with great diplomatic skill, both of 
which were necessary if a king were to succeed in that period. 
An exponent of the monarchical ideas of Alfonso X, he 
proceeded by diverse routes to his end. Thus, in dealing 
with the nobles he made agreements with some, deceived 
others, punished still others for their infractions of the law, 
developed a distrust of one another among them, employed 
them in wars against the Moslems (in order to distract their 
forces and their attention), destroyed their castles whenever 
he had a sufficient pretext, and flattered them when he had 
them submissive, as by encouraging them in the practices 
of chivalry and by enrolling them in a new military order 
which he created to reward warlike services. In fine he 
employed all such methods as would tend to reduce the power 
of the nobles without stirring up unnecessary opposition. 


He was strong, but was also prudent. He followed the 
same policy with the towns and the military orders. For 
example, he promised that no royal town should ever be 
granted to a noble (or churchman), a promise which was 
not observed by his successors or even by Alfonso himself. 
He was also successful in getting generous grants of money 
from the Cortes, which assisted him materially in the Carry 
ing out of his policy. He won the favor of the people by 
correcting abuses in the administration of justice and by 
his willingness to hear their complaints alleging infractions 
of the law, whether by his own officials or by the nobles. 
He procured the comparative security of the roads, and in 
other ways interested himself in the economic betterment 
of his people. Meanwhile, he enhanced his own authority 
in local government, and always maintained that the na 
tional legislative function belonged to the king alone, not only 
for the making or amending of laws, but also for interpreting 

Alfonso s great work was the political and administrative The acqui- 
organization of the country, but there were two external sitionof 
events of his reign which are worth recording. In 1332 ^^^ 
the Basque province of Alava was added to Castile, although a ;^ os i e m 
with a recognition of the jurisdiction of the law of Alava. invasion. 
More important, perhaps, was a great conflict with Granada 
and the Benimerines of Morocco, who once more tried to 
emulate the successes of their coreligionists of the eighth 
century. The kings of Aragon and Portugal joined Alfonso 
to avert this peril, and a great battle was fought in 1340 
at the river Salado, near Tarifa, where the Moslem forces 
were completely defeated. Though not yet forty at the 
time of his death Alfonso had already written his name in 
large letters on the pages of Castilian history. 

The work of Alfonso XI seemed to be rendered in vain Pedro 
by the civil wars of the reign of his successor, Pedro I, " tiie 
variously called "the Cruel" or "the Just" (1350-1369). CrueL 
In fact, the basis of the structure which Alfonso had reared 
was not destroyed, and even Pedro took some steps which 
tended to increase the royal power. He was not the man 
for the times, however, since he lacked the patience and 


Civil wars 
of the 
reign of 

diplomacy which had distinguished his father. He was, 
above all, impetuous and determined to procure immediate 
remedies for any ill which beset him, even to the point of 
extreme cruelty. He possessed a stern hand, energy, and 
courage, but he had to deal with a nobility as turbulent and 
unsubmissive as was the spirit of Pedro himself. The tale 
of his reign may be told at somewhat greater length than 
some of the others, not that it was more important, but 
by way of illustrating the usual course of the civil wars in 
that time. 

Pedro I was the only legitimate son of Alfonso XI, who 
had left five illegitimate sons by his mistress, Leonor de 
Guzmdn, to each of whom he had given important holdings 
and titles. On the death of Alfonso, his wife (Pedro s 
mother) procured the arrest of Leonor de Guzman and later 
her assassination. Naturally, this incensed the five sons 
of Leonor, although all but the eldest, Count Henry of 
Trastamara, appeared to accept the situation. Other pre 
texts for internal strife were not lacking. Pedro was a 
mere boy, and at one time became sick and seemed about 
to die, whereupon the nobles began to prepare for a dynastic 
struggle. Pedro lived, however, but caused discontent by 
choosing a Portuguese, named Alburquerque, as his lead 
ing adviser and favorite ; the chief basis for the objections 
of the nobles was that each one wished the post for himself. 
The resistance to Alburquerque was the rallying-cry in the 
early period of the wars, in which Pedro s illegitimate brothers 
joined against him. Pedro was successful, and it is note 
worthy that he dealt leniently with his brothers, in contrast 
with his energetic cruelty against the other rebels. In 
1353, as the result of negotiations which had been arranged 
by Alburquerque, Pedro married a French princess, Blanche 
of Bourbon. Previously, however, he had entered into re 
lations with a handsome young lady of good family, named 
Maria de Padilla, to whom he remained ardently devoted 
for the rest of his life. So blindly in love with her was he 
that Alburquerque had to take him from the arms of Maria 
in order to have him assist at his own wedding. Three 
days later the youthful Pedro deserted his wife in favor of 


his mistress. Alburquerque wisely took himself away, the 
Padillas were established as the favorites at court, and the 
young queen was imprisoned. The nobles could no longer 
pretend that they were fighting Alburquerque; on the 
contrary, they joined the very man they had assumed to 
oppose, in a war against the king, with various alleged 
objects, but in fact with the usual desire of seizing an oppor 
tunity for increasing their own power. At one time they 
contrived to capture Pedro, but he escaped and wreaked 
a fearful vengeance on his enemies, though once again he 
allowed his brothers, who as usual were against him, to sub 
mit. Meanwhile, Pedro s marital experiences included a 
new wife, for he found two bishops who declared his first 
marriage null, despite the pope s efforts to get the king to 
return to Blanche of Bourbon. Pedro married Juana de 
Castro, but this time was able to wait only one day before 
returning to Maria de Padilla. These events had their 
influence in the civil wars, for many towns refrained from 
giving Pedro aid or joined against him out of disgust for his 

The wars were renewed from the side of Aragon, where The wars 
Henry of Trastamara, who for years had been the Castilian ^ th 
monarch s principal opponent, formed an alliance with the ^^ r 
king of Aragon. The ruler of Aragon at that time was mara , 
Pedro IV, a man of the type of Alfonso XI. Having^ over 
come the seigniorial elements in his own realm he did not 
scruple to take advantage of Pedro Ps difficulties in the 
same regard to seek a profit for himself, or at least to damage 
a neighboring king of whom he felt suspicious. Prior to 
the outbreak of hostilities Pedro I gave himself up to a 
riot of assassinations, and among his victims were three of 
his half brothers and several members of their families. 
His enemies were not yet able to defeat him, however, even 
with the aid of Aragon, and a peace was signed in 1361. 
Shortly afterward, both Blanche of Bourbon and Maria 
de Padilla died, the latter deeply bemoaned by Pedro I. 
In 1363 Henry of Trastamara and Pedro IV again formed a 
league against the Castilian king, and it was at this time that 
Henry first set up a claim to the crown of Castile. To aid 


them in their project they employed the celebrated "White 
companies/ an army of military adventurers of all nations 
who sold their services to the highest bidder. They were 
at that time in southern France and (as usually happened 
in such cases) were regarded as unwelcome guests now that 
their aid was no longer required there. The pope (then 
resident at Avignon) gave them a vast sum of money on 
condition that they would go to Aragon, and Pedro IV 
offered them an equal amount and rights of pillage (other 
than in his own realm) if they would come. Therefore, led 
by a French knight, Bertrand du Guesclin, they entered 
Spain, and in 1366 procured the conquest of most of Castile 
for Henry, who had himself crowned king. Pedro I sought 
aid of his English neighbors, for England at that time pos 
sessed a great part of western France, and, in return for 
certain concessions which Pedro promised, Edward III of 
England was persuaded to give him an army under the 
command of the celebrated military leader, Edward, the 
Black Prince. It was Henry s turn to be defeated, and he 
fled to France. Pedro I now took cruel vengeance on his 
enemies, disgusting the English leader, besides which he 
failed to keep the promises by which he had procured his 
aid. The English troops therefore went back to France, 
at a time when a fresh insurrection was about to break out 
in Castile, and when Henry of Trastamara was returning 
with a new army. Pedro I was utterly defeated at Montiel, 
and was besieged in a castle where he took refuge. Captured 
by Henry through a trick, he engaged in a hand-to-hand 
struggle with his half brother, and seemed to be winning, 
but with the aid of one of his partisans Henry at length got 
the upper hand and killed Pedro, a fitting close to a 
violent reign. 

Difficul- Henry II (1369-1379), as the victor of Montiel was now 

*i. es of entitled to be called, did not retain his crown in peace. 

enry . j) es pj te t j ae f act fa^ ^ e j^ g rave ly weakened the monarchy 

by his grants of lands and privileges in order to gain support, 
he was beset by those who were still faithful to Pedro, or 
who at least pretended they were, in order to operate in 
their own interest. Aragon, Navarre, Portugal, and Eng- 


land waged war on Henry, and the two last-named countries 
supported Pedro s illegitimate daughters by Maria de 
Padilla, Constanza and Isabel (for Pedro had no legitimate 
children), in their pretensions to the throne, as against the 
claims of Henry. The most serious demands were put 
forward by John ot Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and husband 
of Constanza, backed by Edward III of England. Henry 
overcame his difficulties, although at the cost of concessions 
to the nobles which were to be a serious obstacle to future 

The reign of Juan I (1379-1390) was marked by two im- Juan I 
portant events. Juan married the heiress to the Portuguese and the 
throne, and the union of Spain and Portugal seemed about * 
to take place, but this arrangement did not suit the Portuguese 
nobility. A new king of Portugal was chosen, and the 
Castilian army was completely defeated at Aljubarrota in 
1385, Shortly afterward, the Duke of Lancaster ^landed in 
Spain with an English army to prosecute the claims of his 
wife. This matter was settled by the marriage of the Duke The 
of Lancaster s daughter, in 1388, to Juan s heir, Prince 
Henry. Thus was the conflict of Pedro I and Henry ^ II 
resolved. Their descendants, though tainted with illegiti 
macy in both cases, had joined to form the royal family of 
Spain. The young prince and his consort took the titles 
of Prince and Princess of Asturias, which have been used 
ever since by the heirs to the Spanish throne. 

Henry III "the Sickly" (1390-1406), though already Henry 
married, was only a minor when he became king, wherefore 
there occurred the usual troubled years of a minority. 
Despite the pallor of his complexion (whence his nickname) 
he was a spirited individual, and upon becoming of age 
(when fourteen years old) set about to remedy some of the 
evils which had been caused by the grants of favors to the 
nobles duirng the regency and in preceding reigns. He 
also adopted a vigorous policy in his relations with Portugal, 
Granada, and the pirates of the North African coast, and 
even went so far as to send two somewhat celebrated em 
bassies to the Mogul emperor and king of Persia, Tamerlane. 
One event of capital importance in his reign may be taken 


as the first step in the Castilian venture across the seas. 
In 1402 Rubin de Bracamonte and Juan de Bethencourt 
commenced the conquest of the Canary Islands under the 
patronage of Henry. The young king was also preparing 
to conquer Granada, when at the age of twenty-seven his 
life was unfortunately cut short. 

Juan II It seemed likely that the opening years of the reign of 

and Juan II (1406-1454) would witness a fresh period of civil 

Alvaro de s t ru ggl e , since the king was not yet two years old. That 
this was not the case was due to the appearance of a man 
who was both able and faithful to his trust, the regent, 
Ferdinand of Antequera, an uncle of Juan II. In 1412, 
however, he left Castile to become king of Aragon, and a 
few years later Juan s majority was declared at fourteen 
years of age. Juan II was the first truly weak king of 
Castile. In the history of Spanish literature he occupies 
a prominent place, and he was fond of games of chivalry, 
but he lacked the decision and will-power^ to govern. Fortu 
nately he had a favorite in the person of Alvaro de Luna who 
governed for him. On several occasions in the reign Alvaro 
de Luna was able to win successes against Granada, but the 
fruits of victory were lost because of civil discord in Castile. 
During most of the reign the nobles were in revolt against 
Alvaro de Luna, and the weak king occasionally listened 
to their complaints, banishing the favorite, but he could not 
manage affairs without him, and Alvaro de Luna would be 
brought back to resume^ his place at the head of the state. 
By 1445 the position of Alvaro de Luna seemed secure, when 
a blow fell from an unexpected quarter. He had procured 
a Portuguese princess as the second wife of Juan II, but she 
requited him by turning against him. She persuaded Juan 
to give an order for his arrest, and, since there was no cause 
for more serious charges, he was accused of having bewitched 
the king, and was put to death in 1453. This time Juan 
could not call him back; so he followed him to the grave 
within a year. 

The evil of internal disorder which for so many years had 
been hanging over the Castilian monarchy came to a head 
in the reign of Henry IV "the Impotent" (1454-1474). 


If Juan II had been weak, Henry IV was weaker still, and 
he had no Alvaro de Luna to lean upon. He commenced 
his reign with an act of characteristic flaccidity which was to 
serve as one of the pretexts for the insurrections against 
him. War was declared upon Granada, and the Castilian 
army reached the gates of the Moslem capital, when the 
king developed a humanitarianism which hardly fitted the 
times, declining to engage in a decisive battle lest it prove 
to be bloody. A more important pretext for rebellion arose 
out of a dynastic question. Failing to have issue by his 
first wife, Henry procured a divorce and married again. 
For six years there were no children by this marriage, 
wherefore the derisive name " the Impotent " was popularly 
applied to the king, but at length a daughter appeared, 
and was given the name Juana. Public opinion, especially 
as voiced by the nobles, proclaimed that the father was the 
king s favorite, Beltrdn de la Cueva, on which account the 
young Juana became known vulgarly as "La Beltraneja." 
The Cortes acknowledged Juana, and she was also recognized 
as heir to the throne by the king s brothers and by his sister, 
Isabella, but the nobles formed a league on the basis of her 
supposed illegitimacy with the object of killing the favorite. 
They directed an insulting letter to the king, demanding 
that his brother, Alfonso, should be named heir. Instead 
of presenting a bold front against these demands, Henry 
was weak enough to consent to them. 

The dynastic question was far from being the principal 
one in the eyes of the nobles. By this time it was perfectly 
clear that the real struggle was political, between the ele 
ments of seigniorial independence and strong monarchy. 
Thus the nobles and their allies had insisted that the king s 
guard should be disarmed and that its numbers should be 
fixed ; that the judges in royal towns and certain other royal 
officials should be deprived of their office and be replaced 
by the appointees of the league; that the king should be 
subjected to a council of state formed of nobles and church 
men, which body was to intervene in the affairs formerly 
handled by the king himself, including even the exercise of 
ordinary judicial authority; that all cases against nobles 

"the Im 
and Juana 

The seign 
and the 
of the 



The mar 
riage of 
and Isa 

The union 
of Castile 

and churchmen should be tried by a tribunal of three nobles, 
three churchmen, and three representatives of the towns, 
and several of the members who were to compose the tri 
bunal (all of them opponents of the king) were named in 
the document of these demands ; and that there should be a 
right of insurrection against the king if he should contravene 
the last-named provision. After he had accepted the 
nobles terms Henry realized the gravity of his act and 
changed his mind, declaring his agreement void. The 
nobles then announced the deposition of the king, and named 
his brother, Alfonso, in his stead, but the royal troops de 
feated them soon afterward, and Alfonso suddenly died. 
The nobles then offered the crown to Isabella, but she de 
clined to take it while her brother was living, although con 
senting to do so in succession to him, thus retracting her 
previous recognition of Juana. On this basis the nobles 
offered peace to the king, and he consented, which for the 
second time put him in the position of acknowledging the 
dishonor of his wife and the illegitimacy of Juana. The 
queen protested, and in 1470 Henry again recanted, but at 
the time of his death, in 1474, he had not yet resolved the 
succession to the throne. 

Meanwhile Isabella had contracted a marriage of sur 
passing importance in the history of Spain. In 1469 she 
married Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Aragon, rejecting 
Henry IV J s proposal of a marriage with the king of Portugal. 
Isabella was proclaimed queen on the death of her brother, 
but many nobles now took the other side, upholding the 
cause of Juana, including some who had formerly fought on 
the side of Isabella, for example, the archbishop of 
Toledo. The hand of Juana was promised to the king of 
Portugal, who therefore joined in the war on her side. The 
forces of Isabella were victorious, and in 1479 a treaty was 
made whereby she was recognized as the queen. The un 
fortunate Juana chose to enter a convent. In the same 
year, 1479, Ferdinand became king of Aragon, and at last 
a political union of the greater part of Christian Spam had 
become a fact. 




THE general remarks made with respect to Castilian General 
history in this period apply, with but few modifications, to character- 
that of the kingdom of Aragon. In Aragon the victory of i ^ tlcs of 
monarchy over seigniorial anarchy was externally clear as e era * 
early as the middle of the fourteenth century. The civil 
wars after that date (and there were very few until the last 
reign of the period) were due to the vast power of the city 
of Barcelona in conflict with the king, to the difference in 
interests of Aragon proper and Catalonia, and to social 
uprisings, Social progress in this region, but especially in 
Catalonia, was much more marked than in Castile, merely 
because there was so much more to gain, and great as 
were the advances made they did not bring the masses 
to a state of social freedom equal to that which had been 
attained in Castile. Of great importance to the future of 
Spain was the embarkation of Aragon on a career of Italian 
conquest. Fatal as Spain s Italian aspirations were to be 
in succeeding centuries, that evil was balanced, at least 
in part, by a contact with Renaissance influences proceeding 
out of Italy, and by a favorable commerce which redounded 
in many ways to the benefit of Spain. This was one of the 
periods when the advantages of the Italian connection were 
greater than the disadvantages. 

Pedro III (1276-1285) showed in his short reign that he Pedro III 
was a man of his father s mould. Able as he was he had to and the 
yield not a little to his nobles and the oligarchical towns, as Ilobles - 
indeed had Jaime I, as witness the case of the independent 
position of the Jiistida won from Jaime I. From Pedro III 



these elements, especially those of Aragon proper, obtained 
the rights embodied in a document called the "General 
Privilege"; by this the Justicia was proclaimed chief jus 
tice for all cases coming before the king, and was made to 
depend more closely on the nobles and allied towns. They 
also gained many other privileges, such as the restoration 
of the goods and lands taken from them by Jaime, exemption 
from naval service, and a reduction in the number of days of 
military service required of them. Yet Pedro was able to 
keep them sufficiently in hand to enable him to embark 
upon an ambitious foreign policy. 

Foreign Pedro took the first step toward the reincorporation of 

policy of the realm left by his father to Pedro s brother Jaime when 
Pedro II . j le p rocurec [ a recognition from the latter that he held his 
kingdom of Majorca as a vassal of the king of Aragon. 
Reaching out still farther he established a protectorate over 
the Moslem state of Tunis, gaining great commercial ad 
vantages at the same time. The next logical move was the 
conquest of the island of Sicily. Two events combined to 
bring Pedro III into competition for dominion there. One 
was his denial of vassalage to the pope, repudiating the 
arrangement of Pedro II, and the other was his marriage 
to Constance, the daughter of King Manfred of Sicily. The 
papacy had only recently won its struggle of several cen 
turies against the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperors, 
and it claimed that the territory of Naples, or southern 
Italy and Sicily, was at the pope s disposal. Manfred of 
Sicily was a member of the defeated imperial family, and 
would not recognize the papal claim, whereupon the pope 
offered the kingdom as a fief to the French prince, Charles 
of Anjou. Charles accepted and succeeded in conquering 
the island, putting Manfred to death. He then proceeded 
to rule in tyrannical fashion, until in 1282 he provoked the 
celebrated uprising known as the "Sicilian vespers," when 
a terrible vengeance was wreaked upon the followers of 
Charles. Pedro III already had a great army near by in 
Tunis, and when he was invited by the Sicilians to help 
them he accepted, alleging the claims of his wife to the 
Sicilian crown, and landing in Sicily in the same year, 1282. 


In a short time he was master of the entire island, and 
through the exploits of his great admiral, Roger de Lauria, 
in control of not a little of the Italian coast as well, though 
only temporarily. 

Affronted both by the denial of vassalage and by the The 
conquest of Sicily the pope excommunicated Pedro, and French 
declared his deposition as king of Aragon, granting the mvasion - 
throne in his stead to Charles of Valois, second son of the 
king of France. He even went so far as to proclaim a 
crusade against Pedro, and a great French army was pre 
pared to carry out his decision and to establish the claim of 
Charles of Valois. Allies were found in King Jaime of 
Majorca and many of Pedro s own nobles and churchmen. 
The French forces soon overran much of Catalonia, but 
when matters looked darkest a great naval victory by Roger 
de Lauria and an epidemic which broke out in the French 
army turned the tide, and the invaders were driven across, 
the Pyrenees. In the same year Pedro died, but just before 
his death he offered to return Sicily to the pope, so strong 
was the prestige of the papacy in that day. 

Pedro s son, Alfonso III (1285-1291), had no idea of Alfonso 
abandoning Sicily. He made it into a separate kingdom Bl 
under his brother Jaime, and the strife with France and 
the pope went on. Alfonso was not of his father s calibre, 
however, and in 1291 agreed to renounce the Sicilian claim 
and to fight Jaime if the latter should fail to comply with 
this arrangement ; furthermore, he agreed to pay the papal 
tribute of the treaty of Pedro II, including all back sums still 
unpaid. Before Alfonso could act on this agreement he 
died. His reign had not been free from struggles with the Struggles 
nobility, and the latter were in no small degree responsible with the 
for the weak result of his foreign policy; only an excep- 
tionally capable monarch, such as Pedro III had been, could p 
handle successfully the grave foreign and domestic problems O f the 
of the time. The nobles and towns of Aragon proper and Union. 
Valencia had banded together in a league called the Union, 
and they used their combined influence to exact new privi 
leges from Alfonso. When he resisted they went so far as 
to conspire for the succession of the French pretender, and 


Jaime II 
and the 

took other extreme measures which soon decided the king 
to give way. In 1287 he granted the famous "Privilege of 
the Union." 1 By this document the king was restrained 
from proceeding against any member of the Union without 
the consent of both the Justicia and the Cortes, and a council 
was to be appointed to accompany him and decide with 
him the matters of government affecting Aragon and Valen 
cia. If he should fail to observe the Privilege in these and 
other respects (for there were other articles of lesser note) 
the members of the Union might elect a new king. Thus, as 
Alfonso III put it, "There were as many kings in Aragon 
as there were ricoshombres" (great nobles). Jaime II (1291- 
1327), brother of the preceding, contrived to reduce some 
of the privileges granted by this document, although in 
directly, for he recognized its legal force. He enacted laws 
which were in fact inconsistent with it, and in this way 
managed to deprive the Justicia of some of the vast power 
to which he had attained. 

The reign of Jaime II was especially/ interesting from the 
standpoint of foreign affairs. Having been king in Sicily, 
Jaime was not disposed to surrender the island to the pope, 
and left his son, Fadrique, there to govern for him. Soon 
he changed his mind, and made a similar agreement to that 
of Alfonso III, whereby the island was to be given to the 
pope, and Jaime was to employ force, if necessary, to achieve 
this end. Jaime was soon afterward granted Sardinia and 
Corsica in compensation for Sicily, although they were to 
be held as a fief from the pope, and he was to make good his 
claim by conquering them. The Sicilians were not favor 
able to Jaime s agreement, and proceeded to elect Fadrique 
king, resisting Jaime s attempts to enforce his treaty. 
After a long war, peace was made in 1302 on terms whereby 
Fadrique married the daughter of the Angevin claimant, 
the papal candidate, and promised the succession to his 
father-in-law. Toward the close of Jaime s teign Sardinia 

* This document is ^cften rendered in English as "Privilege of 
Union," a phrase which is frequently misunderstood to mean, 
privilege to unite. The use of the article is necessary in order to 
g?ve the correct connotation. 


was conquered, in 1324, by the king s eldest son. It was 
at this time, too, that a body of Catalan mercenaries set up 
then- rule in the duchy of Athens, thus extending Catalan 
influence to the eastern Mediterranean. 1 

Alfonso IV "the Benign" (1327-1335) had a brief, not Alfonso 
very eventful reign, marked by wars with Pisa and Genoa "the 
for the possession of Sardinia, but more especially interesting Benign." 
as a preparation for the reign to follow. Alfonso s second 
wife tried to procure a kingdom for her son by a partition 
of the realm, thus depriving the king s eldest son, Pedro, 
of his full inheritance. Alfonso was willing to accede to 
her wishes, but the energetic character of Pedro, backed 
by popular sentiment, obliged him to desist from the project. 

Pedro IV "the Ceremonious" (1335-1387) forms a curious 
parallel to his Castilian contemporaries, the great Alfonso XI 
and the violent Pedro I. Like the latter he was energetic, 

1 The lack of regular armies in the medieval period gave rise 
to the employment of mercenary troops composed of adventurers 
from all countries, whose presence became a danger to the state, 
once the purpose for which they had been hired had been achieved. 
Fadrique of Sicily found himself in this position at the end of the 
war with his father in 1302. He therefore suggested to Roger de 
Flor, one of his mercenary leaders, that he go to the aid of the 
Roman emperor of Constantinople, then in grave danger from the 
Turks, who had overrun Asia Minor. Roger de Flor accepted 
the idea, and embarked for the east with a large body; of mercenaries, 
many of whom were Catalans. Through their aid the emperor 
won great successes against the Turks, and he therefore granted 
wealth and honors to his mercenary helpers, with the result that 
yet more mercenaries came to share in the prosperity of their 
brothers in arms. Some of the Byzantine Greek nobles became 
jealous of the favor accorded to Roger de Flor and his men, and 
planned a massacre which was so successfully executed that that 
leader and thousands of his followers were killed. The survivors, 
some 3300 in number, did not lose coin-age, but on the contrary 
resolved to avenge this treachery, and did so, so effectively that 
the "Catalan vengeance" has become quite as famous a term in 
history as the "Sicilian vespers." They defeated their enemies 
in -several battles, and sacked and burned many towns, but at 
length accepted a call from the duke of Athens to assist him in 
his wars. They freed the duke from the danger which threatened 
him, but when he tried to deal with them as the Byzantine Greeks 
had done they dethroned him and sent a message to Fadrique of 
Sicily asking him to take them under his protection. Fadrique 
sent his son, Manfred, who established the Catalan duchy of Athens, 
which was destined to endure over half a century, from 1326 to 
1387 or 1388. 



"the Cere 
and the 
of seign 

treacherous, and cruel, but was more hypocritical, having 
a great regard for appearances and standing on the letter 
of the law (hence his nickname). Withal, like Alfonso XI, 
he was the type of ruler needed at the time, and was even 
more successful than the great Castilian, for he definitely 
decided the question between the nobility and the crown. 
The struggle began over a dynastic issue when Pedro, who 
at the time had no sons, endeavored to arrange for the suc 
cession of his daughter Constance, instead of his brother 
Jaime. The nobles and the towns of the Aragonese and 
Valencian parts of the kingdom used this event as a pretext 
for a renewal of the activities of the Union, and in the first 
conflict they were too strong for Pedro. He was obliged in 
1347 to acknowledge the Privilege of the Union, and in 
addition had to consent to a division of the kingdom into 
districts ruled by delegates of the Union, who had broad 
powers, including a right to receive the taxes, which hence 
forth were not to go to the king. Pedro was not a man to 
bow at the first defeat, and in the same year renewed the 
contest. It is noteworthy that the Catalonian nobles and 
towns were on the king s side, possibly because of their 
interest in Mediterranean expansion, which necessitated 
the backing of a strong government. In addition, certain 
democratic towns in Valencia and Aragon joined Pedro, 
as well as many individuals who resented the tyranny of 
the recently victorious Union. In 1348 Pedro crushed the 
Aragonese opposition at the battle of Epila, and then over 
whelmed his opponents in Valencia, punishing them after 
wards with a ruthless hand, displaying a rather vitriolic 
humor when he made some of his enemies drink the molten, 
metal of which the bell for calling meetings of the Union 
had been composed. The legal effect of these victories 
was little more than the nullification of the Privilege of the 
Union and a reduction of the powers of the Ju-stida and of 
the exaggerated pretensions, social and otherwise, of the 
nobles, while the General Privilege and other royal charters 
remained in force. In fact, however, a death-blow had 
been struck at feudal anarchy, and the tendency henceforth 
was toward centralization and absolutism. 


The reign of Pedro was not without note, also, in foreign Pedro s 
affairs. Even before settling his dispute with the Union successful 
he had accomplished something for the aggrandizement of for 1 ^ 11 
Aragon. He somewhat treacherously provoked a quarrel 
with the king of Majorca, and then conquered the island 
in 1343. Proceeding at once against the same king s pos 
sessions in southern France he incorporated them into his 
kingdom. Pedro had also assisted Alfonso XI of Castile 
against the Benimerines, contributing to the victory of the 
Salado in 1340. The war with Genoa and the uprisings in 
Sardinia which had filled the reign of his predecessor gave 
trouble also to Pedro, but after a campaign in Sardinia in 
person, he was able temporarily to get the upper hand. His 
intervention in the civil wars of Castile has already been 
noted, and from these he came out with some not greatly 
important advantages. He also cast his eyes upon Sicily 
with a view to restoring it to the direct authority of the 
Aragonese crown, although this was not accomplished in 
his reign, and he encouraged commercial relations with the 
lands of the eastern Mediterranean. In 1381 he accepted 
an offer to become the sovereign of the Catalan duchy of 
Athens. These events were more indicative of a conscious 
Catalan policy of predominance in the Mediterranean than 
important in themselves. 

The reigns of the next two kings, Juan I (1387-1395) and Juan I 
Martin I (1395-1410), were more important from the stand- ^- 
point of social institutions than in external political events. Mart 
In the former reign occurred the loss of the duchy of Athens. 
In the latter, the island of Sicily, as foreseen by Pedro IV, 
returned to the Aragonese line when Martin of Sicily suc 
ceeded his father as king of Aragon. On the death ^ of The dis- 
Martin without issue, a dispute arose as to the succession ^ e s ^ er 
to the throne. The most prominent claimants were Ferdi- cession 
nand of Antequera, then regent of Castile, a son of Martin s an( i the 
sister, and Jaime, count of Urgel, son of a cousin of Martin, crowning 
Ferdinand was supported by the Aragonese anti-pope, ofPerdi- 
Benedict XIII, 1 by the ecclesiastical and popular elements nana 1 - 

1 This was at the time of the Great Schism in the church. Ben 
edict was an Avignon pope. 





into Italy. 

Juan II, 




Charles of 


of most of Aragon proper, by various nobles, and by the 
political influence of the Castilian state, while Jaime counted 
on the popular support of Catalonia and Valencia and of 
part of Aragon, as well as on various noble families. Jaime 
had the advantage of being a native of the kingdom, while 
Ferdinand was looked upon as a foreigner, but as a matter of 
law Ferdinand had the better claim. For two years there 
were serious disturbances on the part of the noble families, 
which united their personal rivalries to the question of the 
dynastic succession. Finally, the matter was left to a 
commission of nine, three each from Aragon, Catalonia, 
and Valencia, and this body rendered a decision, in 1412, in 
favor of the Castilian claimant, who thereby became Ferdi 
nand I of Aragon (1410-1416). Jaime resisted for a time, 
but was soon obliged to submit, and was imprisoned in a 
castle, although well treated there. 

Ferdinand was succeeded by his son, Alfonso V, called 
variously "the Learned" or "the Magnanimous" (1416- 
1458), under whom the Catalan policy of Mediterranean 
expansion advanced to a stage far beyond anything pre 
viously attempted. Most of his reign was passed by him 
in warfare in Italy. Invited by the queen of Naples, who 
adopted him as her heir, to assist her against the house of 
Anjou, Alfonso was at length able to dominate the land and 
to set up a brilliant court at the city of Naples. He also 
intervened successfully in other wars, and even thought of 
attempting to reconquer Constantinople from the Turks, 
for that city had been taken by them in 1453. Meanwhile, 
his absence from his Spanish dominions permitted of a 
revival of internal disorders, which were to come to a head 
in the next reign. Alfonso gave Naples (southern Italy) 
to his illegitimate son Ferdinand, and the rest of his domains, 
including Sardinia and Sicily, to his brother Juan. 

Prior to his succession to the Aragonese throne Juan II 
(1458-1479) had married the queen of Navarre, and at her 
wish, consented to by their son, Charles, Prince of Viana, 
had continued to act as king of that land after his wife s 
death. He had contracted a second marriage with a Cas 
tilian lady, Juana Enriquez, and her intrigues against 


Charles of Viana had already caused that prince no little 
trouble. In the interests of her own children (one of whom, 
the later great King Ferdinand, was to be a worthy exemplar 
of the scheming traits of his mother) she plotted to deprive 
him of his rights, first to the throne of Navarre, and later, 
after Juan had succeeded to the Aragonese crown, to that of 
Aragon. The Catalans took up the cause of Charles of 
Viana with enthusiasm, and when Juan refused to declare 
him his heir civil war broke out, not only in Catalonia, but 
also in Aragon and Navarre. Charles was at first successful, 
and his father consented to recognize him as his successor 
and to appoint him governor of Catalonia, but the agree 
ment had hardly been signed when the young prince died. 
Public opinion ascribed his death to poisoning at the instiga 
tion of his step-mother, and so great was the general in 
dignation over this event that civil war in Catalonia broke The revolt 
out afresh. The Catalans were at a legal disadvantage f tiie 
in not having a legitimate lord to set up against Juan II. Catalans - 
They elected various individuals as count of Barcelona, and 
even thought of organizing a republic, but the successive 
deaths of their chosen rulers, and the length of the war, 
which had already lasted twelve years, inclined many, 
toward the close of the year 1470, to make peace with the 
king. The very misfortunes of the latter, despite the 
crimes which he had committed, tended to this end, for he 
had again become a widower, and was blind and alone, for 
his son, Ferdinand, had remained in Castile after his im 
portant marriage with Isabella in 1469. Finally, in 1472, 
a peace satisfactory to both sides was arranged. It is to 
be noted that this war had nothing to do with the earlier 
struggle of the lords against the king, but was sustained 
rather by the city of Barcelona and the permanent com 
mittee, or deputation, representing the Cortes of Catalonia, 
against the king, being fought mostly in Catalonia, and 
being involved also with the attempts of the Catalan peasant 
classes to shake off the social burdens which they had so 
long been obliged to bear. The former seigniorial stronghold 
of Aragon proper was in this war the most powerful royalist 
element. The closing years of Juan s reign were devoted 



to a war against France for the reconquest of Cerdagne 
and the Roussillon, which had previously been granted by 
Juan to the French king in return for support against the 
former s Catalan enemies. This war was still going on 
when, in 1479, Juan died, and Ferdinand ascended the throne, 
to rule, jointly with Isabella, the entire realms of Castile 
and Aragon. Thus had the evil intrigues of Juana Enriquez 
redounded to the benefit of Spain. 

the cur 
rent of 

history of 

and their 
tion in 
the king 
dom of 


From 1285 to 1328 Navarre was a French province, but 
recovered its independence under the house of Evreux on 
the death of Charles IV of France without succession. The 
next heir after Charles of Viana was his sister Blanche, but 
her father, Juan II of Aragon, had her imprisoned, and a 
younger sister, Leonor, was enthroned in her stead. 1 Leonor 
and her husband, the count of Foix, established a new 
dynasty which was destined to be of short duration, for in 
1512 Ferdinand of Aragon conquered Spanish Navarre. 
French Navarre remained for a time under the rule of the 
house of Foix, but presently became a part of the kingdom 
of France. 

The Basque Provinces 

The three Basque provinces of Alava, Vizcaya, and 
Guipuzcoa had more of interest in their internal organi 
zation than in their external political history, since in the 
latter respect they were closely united to Navarre and 
Castile, which states disputed the dominion of these 
provinces. They were usually subject to one power or 
the other, although some of their towns, together with 
others of the Castilian north coast, formed themselves into 
leagues (hermandades), and enjoyed a certain amount of 
independence in their dealings with England and France. 

1 Blanche was the unfortunate queen divorced by Henry the 
Impotent of Castile. Shortly after her imprisonment in Navarre 
she died suddenly, probably poisoned by order of her sister. 


A number of popular beliefs exist with regard to the history 
of these provinces, one of which is that they have never been 
conquered. It is true that no conqueror ever stamped out 
the indomitable spirit and the customs of the people, but 
the land was rarely independent. It is believed that the 
Moslem invasion of the eighth century did not extend to 
these provinces, but at a later time they did suffer from 
Moslem incursions. ^ With the organization of the kingdom 
of Asturias, both Alava and Vizcaya seem to have been 
either dependent on that realm or at least in close relation 
ship with it. At times, from the eighth to the tenth centuries, 
the counts of Alava were also counts of Castile.^ Passing 
into the hands of Sancho the Great of Navarre, Alava was 
incorporated in that kingdom until the reign of Alfonso 
VIII of Castile. Alfonso VIII won the battle of Vitoria, 
and conquered the land in 1200. Thenceforth it remained 
under the sovereignty of the Castilian monarch, although 
with an assembly, the Cofradia (Fraternity, or Association) 
of Arriaga, of its own. In 1332, in the reign of Alfonso XI, the 
incorporation with Castile was made complete, although with 
a retention of the charters and liberties of the province. 
Vizcaya also vacillated between Navarre and Castile as a 
more or less independent, protected country, until in 1370 it 
passed over to the Castilian crown by inheritance of the 
wife of Henry III. The course of events in Guipuzcoa was 
very similar. In 1200 the province submitted to the con 
queror of Vitoria, and from that time forth the external po 
litical history of Guipuzcoa was that of Castile. 


The Moslem state of Granada was of very slight political Inconse- 
importance in this period, despite its by no means insignif- 
icant territorial extent, wealth, and population. It was a of 
mere political accident, annoying to the Christians at times 
but as a rule not worthy of serious consideration as an enemy, political 
It was precisely because it was not greatly to be Beared or history, 
very troublesome that it was permitted to maintain its 
independence. It is to be noted, also, that there was very 


little of the crusading spirit in these centuries ; if there had 
been, Granada would soon have been conquered. On 
several occasions, when the rulers of Granada called in the 
Benimerines and others from Africa, the Moslems were a 
serious peril to Christian Spain, but the battle of the Salado 
in 1340 proved decisive, being followed by a decline of the 
political strength of the Moslem states of northern Africa. 
After 1340 the rulers of Granada limited themselves, in their 
relations with the Christian states, to intervening in Castile 
during periods of civil war, or to asking Castilian aid at 
times of internal strife in Granada. Uprisings and de 
thronements were of frequent occurrence, but so too were 
Moslem raids into Castilian territory. 




As regards social organization this period represents Social 
merely an evolution of the factors which had already ap- changes of 
peared in the preceding era, and its chief results were the 
following: the end of serfdom; the advance of the middle 
class and its opposition to the lords, principally through its 
jurisconsults and the caballeros of the towns; an increase 
in the privileges of the clergy ; and additional landed wealth 
for the nobles through the donations of the kings or private 
conquests. The principal social struggle was no longer that 
of the serfs against their lords, but rather of the middle class, 
as represented by the wealthier citizens of the towns, against 
the nobles and clergy for legal equality, especially as regards 
taxation and other duties to the state. The disappearance 
of serfdom did not bring economic well-being to the agri 
cultural laborers; their fortunes in this regard were often 
as vexatious and hard to bear as their former personal 
dependence had been. At the same time, the poorer people 
of the towns became a fairly numerous class, but they were 
in a position of inferiority as compared with the wealthier 

Through civil wars and the weakness of the kings the Social and 
power of the nobles, both socially and politically, appeared political 
to increase. They did not confine their strife to opposition stlge 
to the king, but fought one another incessantly, not for any 
political or other ideal, but mainly for personal reasons. 
Such was the nature of the wars, for example, between the 



Guzman and Ponce families .of Seville. As time went on, 
these intra-class struggles increased, being more numerous 
than ever in the fifteenth century. The nobility would 
have destroyed itself if the kings had known how to take 
advantage of the situation, but most of them failed to ap 
preciate their opportunity. Sancho IV, Alfonso XI, Pedro 
I, and Henry III tried to reduce the nobles by direct attack, 
and Henry IV gave special attention to the development 
of a new nobility as a counterpoise to the old, but usually 
the kings dared to fight only indirectly, as by granting the 
petitions of the towns which involved a diminution of 
seigniorial authority. Two circumstances in addition to 
their political victories tended to secure the position of the 
Primo- nobles : the adoption of the law of primogeniture with regard 
geniture to the succession to both their titles and their lands; and 
and .lati- ^ increase in the territorial domains in the possession of 
fun ia. ^ e nobles. By the law of primogeniture the wealth of the 
family and the lustre of its name were given in charge of the 
eldest son, maintaining in this way the powerful position 
of the particular noble house. The second sons (segundones), 
in large measure disinherited, sought a career as members of 
the clergy or as soldiers. Henry II himself was partly 
responsible for the introduction of this new practice of the 
nobility, and he and later kings usually required that the 
lands granted by them to the nobles should be inalienable 
and subject to the law of primogeniture. The royal dona 
tions, which were especially great from the time of Henry II 
on, were usually of two kinds : honor es (honors), or grants 
of the fiscal rights which the king had in a specifically named 
place; and tierras (lands), or grants of a fixed rent on a 
certain town or towns. Both forms were termed generally 
grants in encomienda. The nobles increased their holdings 
yet more by usurpations and private conquests. Early in 
the reign of Henry IV, for example, the Duke of Medina 
Sidonia and other nobles conquered territories of vast size 
from the Moslems, and these latifundia (broad estates) have 
influenced even to the present day the economic life of 

The caballeros of the military orders were a notably im- 


portant element. A noble of high rank was usually chosen Decline 
as grand master, and this gave him a preponderantly strong of the 
position. The vast power of these orders was the cause of 
their downfall, the impulse for which came from without, 
through the joint action of the French monarchy and the 
popes. The order of the Templars, the strongest of all, was 
abolished by the pope in 1312, and this reacted to cause a 
decline of the other orders. Furthermore, the reason for 
their existence ceased with the entry of the Turks into 
Europe and the cessation of the Spanish crusades. Except 
as concerned the military orders the nobles seemed to have 
reached the height of their social ambitions, conducting 
themselves in a lawless manner with a more or less complete 
lack of loyalty, high ideals, or moral sense, but (as will be 
pointed out in the following chapter) their authority ap 
peared to be greater than it actually was. 1 

The personal immunities of the clergy were not only Social im- 
extended, but were also made applicable to a greater num- portance 
ber than formerly, and the wealth of the church was in- , f tiie 
creased. Not only priests, but also their servants and the c ergy * 
members of the religious orders, including even those of 
the lay orders, acquired the so-called "benefit of clergy," 

1 The figure of Pedro Lo*pez de Ayala (1332-1407) is typical 
of the nobility of the times, illustrating also the new ^ tendency t to 
win triumphs in court intrigues rather than in warlike pursuits. 
Despite the facility witji which he changed from one side to another, 
he was able to procure a profit for himself (even out of Ms reverses) 
without scandal and under a pretence of serving the public good, 
being always on the border of immorality without falling openly 
and resolutely into it. Thus he was able to rise from untitled 
poverty to nobility and extraordinary wealth, and to the position 
of chancellor of Castile. He was also the most noted historian of 
his time. 

A worthy successor of the preceding was Pedro Tellez Girdn, 
grand master of Calatrava, whose achievements occupied the 
latter years of Juan II and most of the reign of Henry IV. .As a 
favorite of the latter before he became king he was influential in 
causing the downfall of JLlvaro de Luna, and profited by that^event 
to secure honors and wealth for himself, so that in the reign of 
Henry IV he proved to be the most powerful of the Castilian lords. 
He was also one of the most turbulent and disloyal of the nobles, 
and knew how to procure a good price for his services in the civil 
wars of his time. He would have married Isabella, the successor 
of Henry IV, if he had lived, and in that event the history of Spain 
might have taken a different course. 


which exempted them from certain financial obligations to 
the state and to the towns, and secured them the privilege 
of being subject judicially to the ecclesiastical courts only. 
Furthermore, entry into religious orders became so com 
paratively easy that the number of ecclesiastics proper in 
creased greatly, although many of them continued to be 
business men, lawyers, administrative officers, and even 
jugglers and buffoons, frequently leading a licentious life. 
Similarly, the mendicant orders had lost their early ideals 
of poverty and self-sacrifice, and besides being lax at tunes 
in their mode of life were devoting themselves to the ac 
quisition of wealth, especially by procuring inheritances. 
These conditions were cited in complaint after complaint 
of the national Cortes, asking the king for their redress. 
Finally, Henry II issued a law, confirmed by Juan I, that 
clergymen should contribute to the funds applied on public 
works, and that lands which had been tributary should con 
tinue to pay taxes after their acquisition by the church. 
These laws seem not to have been complied with, for the 
complaints were renewed in later meetings of the Cortes; 
it was charged that the clergymen excommunicated the tax 
collectors. On the other hand the right of the church to 
collect the diezmo, or tithe (not precisely a tenth), of the 
produce of lands not their own, a right which had already 
existed in some jurisdictions, became general. The king 
profited by this arrangement, since a portion called the royal 
thirds (tercias reales) 1 went to him for expenditure for 
public charities or pious works, such as the building of 
churches, although the kings did not always so employ it. 2 
Advance The same causes which had conduced to the development 
of the of the middle class in the preceding era were accentuated to 
procure a corresponding advance in this, such as the in 
crease in population, the growth of industry, commerce, 
and agriculture, the freedom of the servile classes, the 
prominence of the jurisconsults and secondary nobility, or 

1 Usually the / royal thirds " amounted to two-ninths. At a 
later time, both in Spain and the colonies, this tax was specifically 
called the dos novenas (two-ninths). 

2 The customs of the clergy will be taken up more fully in chapter 


caballeros (proceeding usually from the towns, and living 
there allied with the middle class against the greater nobles), 
and the great political importance which the towns acquired. 
The basis of the middle class was the town, partisan of the 
centralizing, absolutist tendency of the kings so far as it 
related to the nobles and clergy, but strenuously insistent 
on the retention of its own local charter. The middle class 
had control of production and was the nerve of the state, 
but was virtually the only element to pay taxes, despite the 
fact that the great bulk of territorial wealth was in the hands 
of the nobility and the church. The term "middle class " 
began to refer more and more clearly to the wealthier, free, 
but untitled element, for the laboring class became more 
prominent in the towns, sharing in the charter privileges of 
their richer neighbors, but with certain limitations on their 
economic liberty. There was no social conflict of consequence 
between the two classes, however, for the laborers were not 
yet very numerous, and the evils of their situation were not 
so great as they later became, besides which, self-interest 
united them with the middle class against the nobles and 
clergy. Such strife as there was between them was of a 
political, and not of a social, character. The so-called popu 
lar element of the Cortes represented the middle class only. 
The practice of forming leagues (hermandades) of towns and 
caballeros against the abuses of the higher nobility was 
much indulged in, for it was not safe to rely solely on the 
king. The victory in the end lay with the towns, although 
they were far from obtaining their specific aims at this time. 
Nevertheless, the fourteenth century was characterized by 
the transformation of society from its earlier basis of chivalry 
and war, when the scene had been laid in the castles of the 
country, to the bourgeois life of the towns, devoted to in 
dustry and commerce. 

The rural servile classes, which had all but won complete Improved 
personal liberty in the preceding period, attained both that basis of 
and nearly complete economic liberty at this time. Thus gociety 
the ordinance of Valladolid, in 1325, prohibited the lords 
from retaining either the realty or the personalty of any man 
who should move from seigniorial to royal lands, preserving 




ment of 
the Mude"- 

the owner s right to cultivate or sell his lands, and to make 
any use he saw fit of his personal effects. The ordinance of 
Alcala, of 1348, took a step backward, limiting the owner s 
freedom of sale, lest the lands fall into privileged, non- 
taxpaying hands, and requiring him to keep somebody on 
the land, so that there might always be a taxpayer there. 
Finally, the ideal of the ordinance of Valladolid prevailed. 
At the same time, the old servile relation whereby the lord 
procured the cultivation of his own lands changed to one of 
landlord and tenant, based on the payment of a stipulated 
rent. The fact that there were no social struggles in Castile 
in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is evidence of the 
comparatively satisfactory condition of the rural classes. 
Naturally, there were abuses of an extra-legal character by 
the nobles, such as the forced loans exacted by them, the 
compulsory marriages of rich widows to members of a lord s 
following, and outright robbery, but the real interests of 
the lords called for them to use conciliatory measures to 
attract population, and some of them at least did follow 
that policy. Personal slavery still continued, but the num 
ber of slaves was very greatly diminished and gradually got 
smaller, a tendency which was favored by the laws. 

The free Mudejares continued to receive lenient treatment, 
and their numbers increased greatly; many of the Moslem 
faith preferred to leave Granada and live in Christian Castile. 
The legislation of Alfonso X put them under the royal pro 
tection and allowed them to have their own courts and their 
own law. They were permitted to retain the mosques they 
already had, but were forbidden to build new ones; they 
could not worship in public in places settled chiefly by 
Christians, but otherwise no objection was made; the 
obligations of former times as regards taxation, mode of 
dress, and dealings with Christians were also retained ; and 
the gathering of Mudejares into the cities, despite the greater 
number of restrictions imposed upon them, went on, caused 
by the abuses of an unofficial character to which they were 
subjected at the hands of the Christian population in the 
country. In later reigns the restrictions were increased, 
but many of them were not enforced. In fact, the Mudejares 


enjoyed greater prosperity in the last reign, of the era than 
at any other time of the period, being a wealthy and im 
portant social element, represented at court even, and en 
joying a number of advantages which for a long time had 
been denied them. 

For a while the legal situation of the Jews was comparable Harsh 
to that of the Mudejares, but the Christian clergy was measures 
particularly vindictive against the former, and popular 
sentiment was bitterly hostile to them, due not only to the 
influence of the church, but also in part to hatred of the 
Jewish tax collectors, and partly to the avarice awakened 
by the wealth of the Jews (fabulously exaggerated as a rule). 
This enmity was evidenced in more and more restrictive 
laws and in the open insults and violence of the Christian 
populace. Popular feeling began to make itself more 
rigorously felt from about the year 1391. In 1391 a great 
massacre of the Jews took place in Seville, and this was a sig 
nal for similar massacres in other parts of Spain. Shortly 
afterward the Jews lost their separate law courts; they 
were forbidden among other things to engage in commerce 
with Christians, to rent the taxes x or hold public positions, 
to be artisans, to carry arms, or to have intimate relations 
with Christians ; and they were even compelled to listen to 
sermons preached with a view to their conversion. These 
laws were not always enforced, but the position of the Jews 
was far from equalling that of the Mudejares. Great num 
bers of them were converted, but it was believed, probably 
with truth, that they continued to practise the Jewish faith 
in secret. The converts were insulted by their Christian The 
brethren, even in the name "Marranos" (pigs) applied to Marranos, 
them as a class. They were also envied because of their 
industry and wealth, and were accused of diabolical practices 
of which they were almost certainly not guilty. In the last 
years of the reign of Henry IV the massacres of Jews began to 
be extended to them as well as to the unconverted element. 
Two forces combined to change the former type of family 
life : the Roman civil law (of tremendous importance) ; and 

1 It was still the practice to farm out the revenues for a fixed 
gum, leaving the contractor to collect them as a private venture. 



in the 
laws of 
the family, 






the doctrines of the church, which indeed in their judicial 
expression were influenced profoundly by the Roman law. 
They were able to strike a death-blow at the marriage a 
yuras; henceforth the law required the sanction of the 
church. Barragania still maintained a legal though re 
stricted standing. Cases of marriage and divorce were 
taken away from civil jurisdiction and turned over to the 
ecclesiastical courts. As an illustration of the individualistic 
tendencies springing from the influence of Roman juris 
prudence it may be noted that up to twenty-five years of 
age a daughter had to have her father s consent in order to 
contract marriage, but could dispense with his permission 
after that time. The most important reform in family life 
was the establishment of the rule of primogeniture, a practice 
which rapidly became customary. The Roman law was 
equally influential in its effects upon property. Whereas 
formerly the wealth of Castile had been based on agriculture 
and stock-raising, with the land concentrated in few hands 
and cultivated by serfs, now urban lands and personalty, 
based on industry and commerce and adapted to Roman 
principles, became the more important; and despite the 
latifundia of the era a large part of the former seigniorial 
lands was now given over in small lots to free proprietors 
protected by the law. The Roman formalism appeared to 
some extent also in the law of property, contract, and wills, 
especially in the legislation of Alfonso X. 

The collectivity of medieval times had a survival in the 
lands common of the towns, and appeared also in the in 
dustrial guilds and the semi-religious cof radios, or fraternities. 
The latter included various classes of people organized into 
a group for the accomplishment of some social object, such 
as to perform acts of charity or hold funerary dinners, as 
well as to provide mutual aid ; the law forbade associations 
for political, immoral, or illegal purposes. The guilds were 
far more important, and were greatly favored by the laws. 
At first they were closely dependent on the municipalities, 
which intervened to regulate the trades, even in technical 
respects, but at length the guilds began tc receive charters 
directly from the king. The new charters, too, in keeping 


with the practices of the era, were minute in their directions 
with regard to the conduct of the various industries. By 
the fifteenth century the guilds were paying little attention 
to the social matters which formerly were their most impor 
tant function, these had passed over to the cof radios, 
and had become almost wholly economic and professional, 
although their members marched together in processions, and 
the guilds as a body rendered public service of one kind or 
another, as, for example, maintaining some public charity. 
They were also a factor in the political life of the towns. 

In general social customs, so far as they relate to the upper General 
classes, for the practices of the humbler elements are less social 
well known, this era was marked by great immorality, customs, 
license in expression (even when referring to matters of 
religion), luxury, a desire for honors and noble rank (even 
to the point of falsely pretending to them), the mixture of 
an appetite for knowledge with the pursuit of superstitions, 
and the exaggerated practice of chivalric principles (pro 
fessed more as an affectation than with sincerity). The 
luxury of the times manifested itself in the usual ways, and 
it is worthy of note that members of the middle class were 
now able to vie with the nobles. Women painted and Dress, 
powdered and used exaggerated effects in their dress, and 
men wore high-heeled boots, employed various devices to 
correct the natural defects of the body, and used perfumes. 
Foreign influences entered to modify clothing so that it 
tended more to fit the body than before, with a resulting 
abandonment of the flowing garments of earlier times. 
Men often wore stockings of different colors, a feather in 
their hat, and a much-adorned, variegated cape. Color, 
too, was equally prominent for its diversity in women s 
dress, but the dress itself .allowed greater freedom of move 
ment than the earlier styles had done. Superstitions were Superstt* 
prevalent, from the alchemy and astrology of the learned, tion. 
to the various forms of divination and ancient practices 
such, for example, as the mass for the dead dedicated to 
living persons of the common people. Jousts and tourneys Sports, 
and attempts to imitate the warlike feats of the heroes of 
fiction in such works as Amadis de Gaula (of which later) 


formed a part of the chivalric customs of the day. Bull 
fighting was clearly in existence by the time of Alfonso X, 
and thenceforth enjoyed great popularity. 1 

In social and political institutions Aragon proper, Cata 
lonia, and Valencia still differed from one another sufficiently 
to merit separate treatment. While in many ways their cus 
toms were like those of Castile there were certain variations 
worthy of record. 

Aragon proper 

Social Prior to the reign of Pedro IV the nobles increased their 

differences authority both with respect to their rights over the lower 
inAxagon c i asses anc [ i n the exercise of political power, but if Pedro 
x>roper. re duced their privileges in the latter respect neither he nor 
his successors did anything to prepare the emancipation of 
the servile classes. The nobles retained their social priv 
ileges even to the extent of procuring a law in 1451 doing 
away with the royal practice of granting titles of nobility 
of the lower grades. Feudalism continued, though in a 
modified form, for if the nobles could receive lands from the 
king and reissue them to vassals of their own they were 
obliged to return them to the king whenever he should ask 
them to do so, and were not allowed to build castles without 
his consent; moreover, there were various other limita 
tions on their former nearly absolute sway. They collected 
taxes for themselves, and were exempt from paying them to 
the royal treasury, but were under the necessity of rendering 
military service when called upon. The clergy gained in 
creased social importance just as it did in Castile, and the 
middle class became a prominent factor with the develop 
ment of the towns, though far from attaining to the high 
place of the same element in Castile. The towns followed 
a divided policy, for those of the north were feudal in type 
and allied with the nobility, while those of the south were 
more democratic and royal. The condition of the servile 
classes was even worse than before, and no serious attempt 

1 Despite the existence of bull-fighting in much earlier times, 
for example, in the Visigothic period, there is no clear docu 
mentary reference to that game for centuries prior to the reign 
of Alfonso X. 


was made either by them or the Cortes to relieve their hard 
lot. 1 The laws continued to recognize the lord s right to 
eal with them as he pleased, and even to kill them, and 
tends were still sold with the men and women both Chris 
tians and others who dwelt thereon. The history of the 
Jews and Mudejares followed the same course that it did 
in Castile. Not merely in Aragon proper but in all the 
dominions of the crown the Jews were subjected to exceed 
ingly harsh treatment. The Mud6jares of both Aragon and 
Valencia were protected by the kings and the nobles with a 
view to keeping then* lands occupied so that they might 
not fail to yield rents and taxes, and in both regions the 
rural population was principally Mudejar. The Roman 
law exercised a powerful influence in Aragon as elsewhere. 
Thus freedom of testament was introduced, and primo 
geniture attained to a predominant place. The guilds did 
not advance to the point reached in Castile, existing rather 
for purposes of mutual aid, and lacking the technical regula 
tions of the Castilian guilds. 


There are two prime facts in the social history of Catalonia Revolts 
in this period : the uprising of the serfs ; and the outstanding of the 
importance of the cities, especially Barcelona. The first serfs - 
marked the decline of the nobility and the appearance of 
a new social factor ; the second indicated the direction which 
modern social organization was to take. Having lost their 
political power the nobles concentrated their interest on 
getting wealth out of their lands, especially through the 
tributes of their serfs. In this respect they had the enormous 
advantage of possessing the greater part of Catalan terri 
tory. 2 The serfs were subject to a great number of annoying 
personal services, and (in a typical case) to as many as 
thirty different tributes, most of them in kind, besides the 

1 The earliest recorded petition in their favor in the popular 
branch of the Cortes was in 1626 ! 

2 An estimate of 1359 states that there were 25,731 dwellings 
on royal lands, and 57,278 on those of the lords. As late as the 
seventeenth century it is said that 1800 cities and towns out of 2400 
belonged to the nobles or the church, or three-fourths of the total. 



of the 

ordinary rental for the land. They had already won a 
right to redeem themselves for money, and Juan I, Martin I, 
and Maria (the wife and regent of Alfonso V), as well as 
many jurisconsults, made some more or less ineffectual 
attempts to better their condition. The plagues which 
swept Europe in the fourteenth century were a greater aid, 
since laborers became scarce and therefore more desirable. 
By the time of Alfonso V the serfs had become sufficiently 
emboldened to formulate demands, on the threat of a general 
uprising. Alfonso accepted a sum of money from them, 
granted what they asked, and then withdrew his promises 
when the nobles also bribed him. The revolt was delayed, 
however, to the year 1462 in the next reign, when it formed 
one of the complications in the wars of Juan II against the 
deputation of Catalonia and the city of Barcelona. Both 
sides sought the aid of the serfs, but Juan was able to win 
them to his support, although their military operations were 
directed primarily against their own lords. The peace of 
1472 did not solve the social question ; so there was another 
uprising in 1475, and it was still going on at Juan s death, in 
1479, being left for solution to the reign of his son, Ferdinand. 
As a result of these troubles the nobles declined even in 
social prestige, for they had received very little in the way of 
tributes from the serfs since the reign of Alfonso V, and had 
aggravated the situation by their wars with one another or 
against the towns. Meanwhile, the caballeros and others 
of the secondary nobility, natural enemies of the great lords, 
had advanced in importance, and in the reign of Pedro IV 
had won a right to law courts of their own, free from the 
jurisdiction of nobles of the upper grades. On the other 
hand, the great nobles continued to receive donations of 
land from the king, with more or less complete jurisdiction, 
since the existing needs of the royal treasury usually seemed 
greater than the ultimate evil of the grants ; often the kings 
gave away towns which they had previously pledged their 
word never to alienate. It is to be noted that the mere 
ownership of land did not entitle the lords to exercise civil 
and criminal jurisdiction without a specific grant of those 
powers from the long. In addition to the serfs and the kings, 


the nobility had a third element against it, the very powerful 
bourgeoisie, or middle class, which in this period attained 
to the greatest splendor. The history of the Mudejares at 
this time was unimportant, for there were not many in 
Catalonia. The Jews suffered as they did in Castile. The Persecu- 
year 1391, which witnessed the massacre in Seville, was tionof 
marked by a similar event in Barcelona, where the Jewish tiie ^ ewa 
quarter completely disappeared. From that time on, 
harsh measures were taken in Catalonia, and as a result the 
Jews came to be regarded as sharing with slaves (of whom 
there were still a considerable number) the lowest level in 
the social hierarchy. 

The modifications of family life arising from the influence Catalan 
of the Roman law were as notable in Catalonia as in Castile guilds, 
and Aragon. The guilds were developed to a point even 
surpassing that of Castile. As early as the fourteenth 
century they were already organizations for technical objects 
related to their trade. Every trade had its guild, from the 
more important associations of weavers, bakers, and the 
like, down to the more humble blind beggars guilds. 

All that has been said of Castile as regards the immorality, Transition 
luxury, dress, superstition, and chivalric pursuits of the from . 
aristocracy and middle class applies generally, not only to ?^^ vail ~ 
Catalonia, but also to Aragon and Valencia. The nobles modernity 
endeavored to emulate the king in extravagances, with the in social 
result that many were ruined, and their attempts to avoid customs, 
paying their debts to the Jews were one cause of the massa 
cres of the latter. The luxury in dress brought in its train 
the development of tailoring to such an extent that the 
Catalan modes were well-known even in foreign countries. 
In many of the amusements of the period, dances, illu 
minations, pantomimes, processions, masquerades, and 
others, one sees the influence of Renaissance tastes, 
which were to lead to modern civilization, although these 
same diversions were also tainted with the rudeness of 
earlier times. 1 In fine, the customs of the period were made 

1 Thus Queen Maria felt it incumbent upon her to enact, in 
1454, that naked men should not take part in processions of mas- 



Victory of 
tion in. 

up of a curious mixture of passing medievalism and coming 
modernity. For example, while some seigniorial castles 
were centres of luxury and entertainment, others retained 
the austere, military customs of the past. Again, at the 
same time that there appeared a veneer of literary and 
scientific culture, ideas as regards sanitation, both public 
and private, were still rudimentary. Laws continued to 
be passed forbidding people to wash clothes in public foun 
tains, to throw water and filth in the streets, and to loose 
pigs therein, but they were not very generally obeyed. 
Even the public baths which had existed formerly fell into 
disuse. Thus epidemics were frequent, but aside from 
prayers and sequestration of cases not much was done to 
check their progress. 


The majority of the Christian settlers of Valencia were 
both bourgeois and Catalan, while the nobles were mostly 
Aragonese. Down to the time of Pedro IV, the latter 
exerted themselves to deprive the former of the power which 
Jaime I had given them, and they were successful to the 
point of sharing in administrative posts which had formerly 
been denied them, and also procured the application of the 
Aragonese law in the land. After their defeat by Pedro IV 
they declined rapidly, hastening their fall by partisan quar 
rels among themselves. The history of the Mud6jares and 
Jews followed the same course as in Aragon; here, as else 
where, the terrible year 1391 was a time of massacres of 
the Jews, followed by increasingly harsh legislation. The 
influence of the Roman law in modifying family institutions 
and the development of the guilds proceeded on lines analo 
gous to the same factors in Catalonia. 



IN the relations of the seigniorial elements and the mon- General 
archy this was a critical period for the latter, deciding as a character 
result of the virtual, though not at the time apparent, p^artce 
victory of the kings that Castile was to become a power in O f t ^ e 
the world. For that very reason the evolution of political era in 
institutions in this era was important, for on the develop- political 
ment of monarchy depended the conquest of America, but 
they were also important because the institutions which 
were set up in the new world had noteworthy antecedents 
at this tune. Influenced largely by the principles of the 
Roman law the kings aspired to absolute monarchy in a 
centralized state, with a view to overcoming the social and 
political strife resulting from the diffusion of power inherent 
in the seigniorial system. Their most dangerous enemies 
were the nobles, whose spirit of independence and self- 
esteem and whose vast wealth in lands and fighting men 
made them a powerful factor in themselves. They were 
yet stronger because the kings had to depend on them for 
military service since there was no large standing army, 
and because they in a measure developed a class consciousness 
in opposition to absolutism, becoming a nobility rather than 
remaining a mere aggregation of nobles. While the seigniorial 
ideal was not lacking in the towns, they were not nearly so 
dangerous to the monarchy, because they were usually as 
hostile to the nobility as the kings were. Often, however, 
they fought against the kings, or exacted concessions for 
their services. The task for the fulfilment of ^royal ideals 
was therefore a difficult one, requiring a sagacious type of 




decline in 
the power 
of the 

The ab 
ideal of 
Alfonso X. 

monarch, such as in fact rarely appeared in the period. 
Circumstances fought better than the kings, and nowhere 
does this show forth more clearly than in a review of the 
political institutions of the era. 

The external vicissitudes of the strife between the nobles 
and the kings have already been traced, and it would appear 
from them that the former gained the upper hand. In 
fact, however, their cause was already internally dead. 
One symptom of their approaching dissolution was the 
change in the practices of the nobles whereby they became 
more and more a court nobility, plotting in the shadow of 
the king (like the chancellor Lopez de Ayala) instead of 
being semi-independent potentates on their own estates as 
formerly. Despite their class consciousness, parties arose 
within their ranks with distinct ideals, apart from personal 
ambition, dividing them against one another. Thus in 
Seville the Guzman faction represented conservatism, while 
the Ponces were radical. Most important of all were the 
blows resulting from the social and economic changes which 
deprived the nobles of their serfs and created a new form 
of wealth in the hands of the middle class, an element better 
fitted than the old nobility to acquire and develop the new 
resources. The eagerness with which the nobles took up 
the practice of primogeniture, leaving their estates nearly 
intact to their eldest sons so that their house and their name 
might not be lost, showed that they realized the force of the 
new order of things and were taking thought for the future. 
In earlier times, when wealth was territorial and serfs were 
numerous, the land-rich nobility had been secure, but that 
day had passed. 

The great representative of absolutism was Alfonso X, 
not that he invented the idea or was the first to attempt its 
achievement, but because he formulated the program more 
clearly than any of his predecessors, embodying it in his 
legislation, and because he received the first shock in de 
fence of these principles. He enacted that the legislative, 
judicial, and military powers and the right to coin money 
were fundamental, inalienable rights of the king, who could 
not give them away for a period longer than his own life, 

THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 153 

and declared that the lords could not exercise any judicial 
or other sovereign powers on their estates except those which 
had been granted to them by the king, or which they had 
enjoyed by immemorial custom. His laws also prescribed 
certain forms of etiquette which should be employed in 
treating with the king, establishing the ceremonial which 
has always served as such a prop for monarchy. The divine 
origin of royal power was asserted. Independence of the 
Holy Roman Emperors was specifically proclaimed, but a 
measure of subjection to the pope was admitted. The ab 
solutism of Alfonso X did not pretend, even in principle, 
that the king might exercise arbitrary or tyrannical author 
ity; Alfonso declared that the king was bound to observe 
the law and deal justly with the people, acting as their 
guardian and administrator, and granting them certain 
rights to inspect his conduct. Those who wrongly pos 
sessed themselves of the royal power, or made bad use of it, 
were declared to be tyrants and not legitimate kings. The 
people, on the other hand, owed respect, obedience, and 
loyalty to the legitimate king, and even a species of guardian 
ship to prevent his non-fulfilment of obligations. Alfonso X 
was not able to sustain his principles in open conflict, but 
they remained as the ideal of future kings, even though 
some of them were modified by the legislation of later reigns ; 
thus Alfonso XI. declared that sovereign rights might be 
acquired from the crown by prescription, except the taxing 
power and high justice (or the hearing of cases on appeal), 
and that the kings could alienate any of their sovereign 
powers except those of high justice, coinage, and war. 

Two fundamental results of the centralizing, absolutist Establish- 
policy of the kings were the final establishment of hereditary merit of 
succession and the development of consultive and other k 61 " 6 ^?*: 
bodies about the king, the forerunners of modern bureau- and 
cracy. The former has already been referred to. Alfonso develop- 
himself was the first to break his own law in this respect, ment of 
but after his reign the principle was definitely recognized. 
The pomp and ceremonial of royalty increased the number 
of officials whose principal functions were those of adding 
splendor to the court, such, for example, as the king s 


cup-bearer, butler, and chamberlain. Great nobles also 
sent their sons to court to be educated under the protection 
and with the favor of the king, and these young men formed 
a special royal guard. In addition there began to be an 
infinity of servants, notaries, doctors, and others occupying 
posts of a less ornamental character. The most important 
novelty of the period was the development of the Consejo 

The The kings had long been surrounded by a body of nobles 

Consejo an d prelates called the Consejo Real, or Royal Council, 
Realf which advised them in matters of government, or sat as the 

Cort, or supreme court, in appeals from lower jurisdictions, 
but its membership and functions had not been very clearly 
established, for it dealt indiscriminately with any subject 
upon which the king might want advice. One important 
reform was the introduction of representatives of the popu 
lar element in this body. Different kings, from Sancho IV 
on, decreed that a certain number of the council should be 
"good men/ or members of the untitled, secular class, 
although the practice did not become fixed. A law of 
Juan I in 1385 provided that the council should be composed 
of twelve men, of whom four should be plebeians. Two 
years later it was required that the last-named should be 
letrados, that is, men learned in the law, and shortly 
afterward they began to be called oidores (hearers of cases). 
Juan II divided the council into two bodies, one of govern 
ment, the other of justice. It was not until the time of 
Ferdinand and Isabella, however, that the Consejo Real 
acquired real stability. 

The There were important developments, too, in the general 

hierarchy administrative and judicial hierarchy, although with a 
of official- mixture of the two functions. The hierarchy of officialdom, 
om * from the lowest grade to the highest, with especial regard 

to comparative judicial authority, ran from the alcaldes 
of the towns through merinos mayores or the adelantados, 
the alcalde del rey (royal alcalde) of the court, and the ade- 
lantado mayor (or chief justice of Castile) to the king him 
self. In some jurisdictions cases in first instance came before 
alcaldes del rey (different from the above-named) with an 

THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 155 

appeal to merinos menores l and merinos mayores, or directly 
to the latter, and thence upward. The merinos menores 
limited themselves to jurisdiction in certain criminal cases. 
The merinos mayores were, like the adelantados, governors 
of large districts as well as judges in cases of appeal, for 
which latter purpose they were assisted by men acquainted 
with the law. They took the place of many of the former 
adelantados. The adelantado mayor also had administrative 
functions, as the superior of the merinos and other officials 
below him. Alfonso X employed the old term, cort, in the 
new and more restricted sense of a royal judicial tribunal 
which acted for the king. In later reigns this came to be 
known as the chancilleria (chancery), or audiencia, 2 which 
latter name was eventually transmitted to the Americas 
for bodies exercising similar functions. 

Despite appearances, uniformity and order in the ad- Diversity 
ministrative and judicial organization were far from being 
completely established. Not only was there a great variety 
of jurisdictions, but there was also a great diversity in the enc i es 
law, for one region would differ radically from another, toward 
The towns, nobles, clergy, universities, and the great corpo- centraliza 
ration of stock-raisers (the Mesta) all had officials of their tlon * 
own and exemption from royal jurisdiction. At the same 
time, great hermandades, or leagues of cities, were formed for 
the maintenance of public security against highwaymen 
or other disturbing elements, since royal activity in this 
regard left much to be desired, and these also had their 
separate jurisdictions. 3 The current toward centralization 

1 See page 90, note 1. ...... 

1 Literally "audience," or "hearing." Originally, the .kin 
ve " audience " for the decision of cases. Later, he was relieve 


of this duty by other officials, or bodies, and the name was applied 

finally to the courts referred to in this volume. 

3 The most famous of these leagues was the Santa Real Her- 
mandad (Royal Holy Brotherhood) of Toledo, Talavera, and Vil- 
larreal which lasted until the nineteenth century, although with 
modifications of its jurisdiction and activities. The members of 
the league might pursue an offender as far as the borders of Portugal 
or Aragon. When they caught him they had a banquet, after which 
the criminal was tied to a post to serve as a target, and a prize waa 
given to the one who first shot him through the heart. When the 
accused was already dead, a trial was held and he was sentenced. 


was very strong, however, being aided by the education in 
the Roman law of the letrados, whom the king employed as 
his officials (for these men were pronouncedly monarchical 
in sentiment), and by the increase in powers to which the 
adelantados and merinos mayores were attaining at the ex 
pense of the semi-independent elements. The successors 
of Alfonso X, especially Alfonso XI, furthered this policy 
of centralization. Royal judges began to appear in the 
towns, either taking the place of the formerly elected officials, 
or acting concurrently with them, for the kings took ad 
vantage of one pretext or another to make an opening for 
their own appointees. Another important reform was the 
division of the audiencia into two sections, one of which re 
mained in Segovia, while the other went on circuit for brief 
periods in Andalusia. Under Juan II there appeared in the 
audiencia the official known as the fiscal, who at this time 
was a royal prosecuting attorney, but who later was to be 
come one of the most important all-round administrative 
officials in Spanish and Spanish colonial government. As 
an example, too, of the extension of royal jurisdiction may 
be mentioned the so-called recourse of fuerza in cases of 
usurpation (by force, hence fuerza) of lands or jurisdiction 
by the clergy. The trial of these cases was ordered to be 
held in the royal courts. 

Judicial Punishments for crime continued to be atrocious, and 
procedure torture was still employed, but only in the case of persons 
of bad reputation or when the accused bore the evidences 
of crime. Privilege still obtained to modify the punish 
ment of the upper classes. A very notable reform was the 
introduction of the pesquisa, or inquisitorial investigation, 
for the bringing of an indictment, or accusation, of crime. 
Formerly the state had intervened when one individual 
charged another with crime, a process which resulted to 
the detriment of the weak, who would not dare to accuse 

This procedure helps one to visualize the real insecurity of the 
times, for the same summary methods were employed which 
men have used both before and since when the central authority 
was not strong enough to guarantee public security. The Cali 
fornia Vigilance Committees in the days of the gold rush are an 
instance in point. 

THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 157 

the more powerful. The pesquisa not only introduced the 
grand jury function of an accusation by the state, without 
necessarily involving any individual accusers, but it also 
made crime partake more of the nature of a public offence 
than of a mere infringement of individual rights. The 
vulgar proofs, with one exception, were abolished, and the 
importance of written documents and the testimony of 
witnesses became more generally recognized. This also 
caused the rise of the lawyers, who, after a lapse of centuries, 
began again to be a noteworthy element in judicial affairs. 
The riepto, or duel, a special form of the wager of battle, 
was the only one of the vulgar proofs to remain in existence. 
This was a special privilege enjoyed only by those of noble 
blood. The duel was hedged in by a number of rules, one 
of which was that it must take place in the presence of the 
king. If the challenger were killed, the innocence of his 
opponent was proclaimed, but if the latter were killed, still 
protesting innocence, he was in this case, too, declared 
guiltless. The challenger could win by defeating his op 
ponent without killing him, in which event the latter was 
banished, and half of his goods were granted to the king. 

Although the expenses of the state were greater than The new 
formerly, the income was also greater. Many new forms system of 
of taxation were introduced : the royal monopolies on salt axa on * 
and mines ; the alcabala, or tax on sales, which first became 
general in the reign of Alfonso XI ; stamp taxes ; and the 
consumo, or tax on all merchandise entering the city. These 
taxes fell upon goods or upon acts of individuals in connec 
tion with the state (as distinguished from the king) differing 
radically from the services of a feudal character, with a 
multitude of exceptions and privileges, which had formerly 
been the basis of the public income. Owing to the turbu 
lence of the era and the excessive alienation of public wealth 
by grants of the kings to the nobles, receipts did not equal 
the royal needs, and resort was had frequently to loans, de 
basement of the coinage, and arbitrary confiscations of 
property. Even under the new system of taxation the 
nobles and clergy very rarely had to pay any of the numer 
ous taxes, and privileges and exemptions were granted, much 




army and 



decline of 

the towns 




as before. Nevertheless, the methods employed contained 
the germ of a sound financial system, which was to develop 
in succeeding centuries. The collection of taxes was rented 
out as formerly, being given in charge usually of Mudejares, 
Jews, or Marranos. Complaints against these collectors 
were so insistent that at one time churchmen were sub 
stituted for them, without diminishing the complaints, 
for the fault lay in the system. There were royal financial 
officials for receiving the funds and examining accounts, 
but no organized treasury department was as yet developed. 

The principal military fact of the era was the increase in 
the number of troops sustained by the king, but in other 
respects there was no fundamental difference from the pre 
ceding period. Technically there were advances in the art 
of war, such as the development of a greater variety in 
the branches of the service and the introduction of powder, 
but except for cannon of not very great utility the use of 
firearms did not become general. Complete armor came 
in with the white companies. The royal navy, initiated 
by Ferdinand III, was continued throughout the era, and 
this was a period of brilliant victories against the Moslems 
in the Mediterranean and the English in the north ; on one 
occasion the Castilian admiral, Pero Nino, ravaged the 
English coast. No results of note seem to have proceeded 
from these victories, however. 

This was the most flourishing epoch in the history of the 
free Castilian towns : their numbers and political importance 
increased; they received new privileges; and they made 
their presence felt in national affairs through then: repre 
sentatives in the Cortes. The most extreme example of 
municipal independence was provided by the towns of the 
north coast, which recognized the sovereignty of the Cas 
tilian king, but in fact governed themselves, even interven 
ing in foreign affairs through the agency of their league. 
In the interior the towns were less independent politically 
and administratively, and in the fourteenth century their 
authority began to wane. The entry of royal judges into 
the towns has already been mentioned. In administration 
the kings were also able at length to exercise influence. 

THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 159 

This came about as a result of a number of political changes, 
such as the substitution of a life term in office for one of a 
period of years, the usurpation by the ayuntamiento (or 
body of municipal officials) of powers formerly exercised by 
the general assembly, the limitation of the right to hold of 
fice to the caballeros or to specified families, the disturbances 
at times of election, and the corruption which occasionally 
manifested itself in municipal administration. In the in 
terests of internal peace the towns themselves often sought 
intervention by the kings, who did not fail to profit by the 
situation. Under Alfonso XI some towns began to be ruled 
by officials appointed by the king, and that monarch also 
created the post of corregidor, 1 a royal agent placed in many 
towns to watch the course of local affairs and represent the 
king, acting with the local alcaldes. The conegidores grad 
ually acquired considerable influence, thereby reducing the 
power of the popularly elected officials. Internal municipal 
strife continued, but now the great families fought, not for 
the favor of the electorate, but for that of the king, since 
this had become the surer route to public office. The 
greater towns or cities suffered through the breaking away 
of the villages and rural districts which had formerly been 
subordinate to them. These villages were desirous of local 
autonomy, because the municipalities on which they depended 
were wont to exploit them or to exclude them from a share 
in government. The kings granted their petitions, thus 
weakening the greater towns, even if they did extend the 
institution of chartered municipalities. It ^ should^ be said, 
however, that this decline of the towns, with the incidents 
accompanying it, was not uniform, for a number of them 
still retained their earlier liberties, including popular elec 
tion, at the end of the period. In the^ seigniorial towns, Advance 
especially those under ecclesiastical domination, there^were of the 
frequent struggles with a view to reducing the lord s inter- ^^ 
vention in local affairs, and these ended almost everywhere 

1 Literally " corrector. " While the royal agent of this name 
might originally have been considered a "corrector * rather than 
an administrator, he later came to rule over areas ranging from that 
of a city to a province, with wide judicial and executive functions. 



Great age 
of the 

in a victory for the towns, which won a right to name their 
own officers and to possess much the same degree of liberty 
enjoyed by the royal towns. Here, too, the kings inter 
vened, not only through the practice of judicial appeals to 
the royal courts, but also in other ways, even with armed 
forces, in order to reduce the power of the lords. The 
victory of the seigniorial towns lessened the power of the 
lords to an appreciable extent; the struggles of the lords 
with the kings were thenceforth maintained only through 
combinations of nobles, often with Mudejar levies, joined 
at times by some of the towns. 

The institution which most clearly represented the differ 
ent factors of Castilian political life, but especially that of 
the municipalities, was the Cortes, which grew in importance 
until the fifteenth century, when it began to show signs of 
decline. The Cortes was hardly mentioned in the legislation 
of Alfonso X, for it did not comport well with his theories of 
absolutism, but the later kings paid it great consideration, 
seeking the aid of the popular branch against seigniorial 
anarchy. Its principal function continued to be economic, 
rather than legislative, through the grants of subsidies by 
the representatives of the towns. While these were not the 
only source of royal revenue they were so urgently needed 
that the Cortes was able to procure legislation from the 
kings in response to its petitions. The fourteenth century 
was particularly rich in ordinances of the Cortes, especially 
those arising from the meetings of 1329 (Madrid), 1348 
(Alcala), 1351 (Valladolid), 1366 (Burgos), 1371 (Toro), 
1373 (Toro), 1377 (Burgos), 1379 (Burgos), and 1380 (Soria). 
4gumost cases the kings did not put the ordinances (which 
should rather be considered petitions) into effect, where 
fore many of them were repeated time and again, such, 
for example, as the legislation requested against the Jews, 
against the granting of Castilian benefices by the pope, 
against the abuses of royal officials and renters of taxes, 
and against the royal donations to the lords. In a number of 
instances the Cortes got what it asked for, even in cases 
affecting the king s personal authority, such as a law in 
1329 which prohibited the issuing of royal letters, or orders, 

THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 161 

in blank (whereby the possessor of the letter might insert 
anybody s name he chose, a practice which usually 
served to promote unjust ends, just as in the case of the 
lettres de cachet in France prior to the French Revolution), 
and another of 1348 extending the prohibition to letters 
which the kings were in the habit of granting to individuals 
empowering them to marry designated persons, with or 
without the latter s consent. The kings also accepted peti 
tions of a more general character, such as those asking that 
steps be taken for the suppression of banditry, the specifica 
tion of the powers of royal officers, the correction of various 
abuses, the lowering of certain taxes, the regulation of dis 
putes between the stockmen and the farmers, and the reform 
of judicial procedure. It was also affirmed several times, 
in 1348, for example, that there could be no new tax 
without a grant of the Cortes. The laws of Alfonso X in 
sisted upon the king s sole right to legislate, however, and 
this principle was maintained by the later kings, for despite 
the fact that a law of 1387 declared that the ordinances of 
the Cortes were irrevocable, unless by the act of a Cortes 
itself, the kings proceeded according to their own pleasure, 
apparently regarding the concession of 1387 as purely theo 
retical. The ordinances of the various Cortes appeared 
without method or plan, and lacked the full force of law, 
but they demonstrated the enormous activity of this body, 
and were in fact a basis for much legislation, both at the 
time and in later years. In organization the Cortes followed 
the general practices of the preceding era. Among the 
comparatively few novelties may be mentioned a law of 
Juan II, fixing the number of representatives from a town 
as two, and a law of 1351 granting immunity from arrest 
to members of the Cortes while that body was in session. 
Up to 1301 Castile and Leon had a separate Cortes, although 
there were a number of joint meetings before that date. After 
1301 there was but a single Cortes for the entire kingdom. 

Not only in the ordinances of the Cortes, but also in the 
general laws of the king without intervention of the Cortes, 
in grants of municipal charters, and in the innumerable 
private grants (often modifying the general law) this period 



ia the 
laws and 

was exceedingly rich in legislation. The fame of the laws 
of Alfonso X and of Alfonso XI has obscured the legislation 
of other reigns, but the output of the other kings was great 
in quantity, if less in importance than that of the two Al- 
fonsos. Diversity was still a leading characteristic of the 
legislation. For example, from Alfonso X to 1299 at least 
127 local charters were granted ; in the fourteenth century 
at least 94 ; and in the fifteenth, at least 5, although many 
were reproductions or slight modifications of certain typical 
charters. The Fuero Juzgo continued to be the general law, 
but there was very little of it which was not contradicted 
or changed by other legislation. A tendency toward unifica 
tion of the laws manifested itself in many ways, however. 
Alfonso X issued a municipal charter in 1254, variously 
named, but usually called the Fuero Real (Royal Charter), 
which was a new model, more complete and systematic than 
those which had preceded it, but based on those already 
in existence and on the Fuero Juzgo, preserving the Visi- 
gothic and early Leonese and Castilian principles of law. 
The Fuero Real was adopted as supplementary law for use 
in cases of appeal to the royal courts, but was also granted 
as the local charter of a great many towns, being the most 
extensively used of the typical charters, although by no 
means in a majority of the municipalities. To bring about 
unification at one stroke it is believed that Ferdinand III 
and Alfonso X projected a code to apply in all the* land. 
Ferdinand is said to have begun the drawing up of the 
Setenario (or Septenary, so-called because it was to be in 
seven parts), which was completed by Alfonso after the 
former s death. This code, if such it may be called, was 
never promulgated, and may rather have been intended as 
an encyclopedia of law. A similar compilation of the reign 
of Alfonso X was the Especulo (or Espejo) de todos los derechos 
(mirror of all the laws), but it, too, never became law, al 
though used as a reference book by jurisconsults. Yet 
another such compilation appeared in this reign, the famous 
Leyes de las siete partidas (laws of the seven parts), or simply 
the Partidas, and this was to attain to a very different lot 
from the others just named. 

THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 163 

The Partidas was the work of a number of jurisconsults The code 
under the inspection, and with more or less intervention, ^ f . tte 
of Alfonso himself; these men began work in 1256 and pf r e tidaz 
finished it in 1265. Some of the laws and customs of Castile, an( j t k e 
for example, the F uero Juzgo and the Fuero Real, were revival of 
used as sources, but the preponderant influences were those Roman 
of the canon law and the codes of the Roman emperor mwil 
Justinian, so much so that the Partidas amounted to an 
encyclopedia of these two sources of law, both of which were 
Roman in origin and very different from the customs, Visi- 
gothic and otherwise, at that time prevailing in Castile. 
Whether Alfonso intended that the Partidas should become 
the general law, or merely that it should serve as an en 
cyclopedia, it was not promulgated in his day, and there 
were many later laws directly contradicting it. ^ Never 
theless, it constantly gained ground, favored especially by 
lawyers and university men (both of which elements were 
strong partisans of the Roman law), being used as a book 
of reference and as a text-book. Finally the current in 
its favor became so strong that so far as it was not incon 
sistent with certain specified compilations it was declared 
to be law in the reign of Alfonso XI by the important ordi 
nance of the Cortes of Alcald (1348). This set forth that the 
decisions of that Cortes should be the principal fountain of 
Castilian law, followed in order of precedence by the Fuero 
Real, the other municipal charters, and finally by way of 
supplement by the Partidas, which was not to be enforced 
in such parts as it contradicted the privileges of the nobility, 
for these also were confirmed. Despite this lowly position 
of the Partidas and despite the vast quantity of ^ later laws 
which took precedence of the above-mentioned hierarchy of 
sources, the ultimate victory of Alfonso s code was assured 
from the time of its official promulgation. Without any 
statute to that effect it gradually became recognized, not as 
a mere supplementary source, but as the principal law of the 
land. Reformations of its text were undertaken to make 
it conform with the necessities of later times, but in substance 
the ideas of the original remained. 

Next to the state the church was the most powerful and 



factors in 

Papal in 
in the 

influential factor in Castile. This period was one of serious 
internal disturbance in the Castilian church and of relaxa 
tion in discipline. Despite the efforts of the popes and some 
Castilian prelates, the practice of barraganfa continued. 
There also occurred such incidents as competitions in beauty 
between the nuns of Seville and Toledo, such instances of 
lack of discipline as the armed resistance of the dean of 
Sigiienza to the pope s appointee as bishop, such turbulent 
intervention in politics as that of the bishops of Seville and 
Toledo in the time of Henry IV, and such cases of strife 
and violence as the attack of the monks of Melon on those 
of Armenteira, and that of the bishop of Mondonedo on 
the Cistercians of Meyra. The disorder was enhanced 
owing to the appearance of the Great Schism in the church 
at large, in which Spanish countries were particularly in 
terested, since several of the popes and anti-popes were of 
Spanish blood. On the other hand, the popes intervened 
more than ever in the affairs of the Castilian church. The 
ideas of Gregory VII of the supremacy of the papacy over 
temporal rulers did not fail to produce results in Castile. 
In the Partidas of the absolutist Alfonso X it was recognized 
that one legitimate way of acquiring the crown was by a 
grant of the pope, and that the latter might also absolve 
Castilian subjects from obedience to the king in certain cases. 
The election of bishops, normally the act of the cathedral 
canons, provoked many disputes between the kings and the 
popes, for the latter frequently intervened to impose their 
candidate, or even to make direct appointments, while the 
former claimed that no election was valid until it had their 
approval. One of the most unpopular practices of the 
popes was the appointment of foreigners to Castilian benefices, 
and frequent protests were made against it, but usually 
without avail.% Although the popes got rather the better 
of the dispute over appointments to bishoprics, the kings 
manifested their prerogative in other respects, as by banishing 
prelates who worked against royal interests, by prohibiting 
the publication of papal bulls which might do harm to the 
state, and by employing the already mentioned process 
of recourse of fwrza in cases of ecclesiastical usurpations 

THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479 165 

of jurisdiction. The Partidas named certain cases where 
clergymen lost their right of resort to ecclesiastical courts, 
for example, suits between clerical and lay individuals 
over lands and inheritances. Even Alfonso XI, who (though 
somewhat immoral in private life) was very pious and notably 
generous with churches and monasteries, was very strict in 
guarding the rights of the state against the intrusions of 
the church. On the other hand, he confirmed the jurisdic 
tion of the church courts in spiritual and related matters, 
including such cases as those arising out of church taxation, 
marriage, births, divorce, adultery, usury, and robbery in 
a sacred place, as well as those of a more purely religious or 
ecclesiastical character. The wealth of the church in lands Wealth 
increased greatly, both as a result of royal donations, and 
through the gifts of individuals, especially^ in the fourteenth 
century when the terror of the plagues which were sweeping 
Europe caused many to seek divine favor through benefac 
tions to the church. There were a number of protests in 
the Cortes, especially in the case of the monasteries. The 
objections were based on social and financial, rather than 
anti-clerical, grounds, since the accumulation of landed 
wealth in the hands of the church tended to reduce the 
agricultural classes to a perpetual condition of mere usufruct 
or rental of lands, and resulted in vast tracts remaining 
uncultivated. Furthermore, these lands as a rule became 
exempted from taxation. The Partidas recognized the 
right of the church to receive such gifts, and no effectual 
steps were taken to check them. It may be mentioned Pil- 
here that this was the golden age of pilgrimages to holy 
places, due to religious devotion, or in fulfilment of vows, or 
from pure love of travel and adventure. Naturally, Santiago 
de Compostela was the chief objective of pilgrims in Spain, 
and to that place went not only Spaniards but also many 
thousands of persons from all parts of western Europe. 


Victory of 
the royal 
in Aragon 


Aragon proper 

THE struggle of the kings against the seigniorial elements 
of Aragon and Valencia (in furtherance of their policy of 
absolutism and centralization) has already been traced up 
to the point where royalty gained the upper hand in the reign 
of Pedro IV. One result of Pedro s victory was the reduc 
tion of the power of the Justicia, no longer a creature of the 
nobility (to mediate between them and the king) but a royal 
appointee, exercising strictly judicial powers as chief justice 
of the realm. Even in this respect his authority was limited 
by the founding of a tribunal to accompany the king. At 
tempts continued to be made to establish the independence 
of the Justida, and the Cortes declared him irremovable, 
but the kings compelled their appointees to give them a letter 
of resignation, with the date left blank, or disregarded the 
prohibition of the Cortes altogether, deposing a Justida if it 
suited them to do so. Pedro IV enacted that no person of 
higher rank than that of caballero should be governor in 
Aragon, thus removing another factor which had formerly 
contributed to civil strife. Aside from the abolition of the 
Privilege of the Union and the reforms just mentioned (to 
gether with others of lesser note), the kings did not modify 
the political organization of Aragon, but became in fact the 
principal element in the state, working their will even to the 
point of acts at variance with the laws. Great diversity 
in charter rights and jurisdictions continued to exist, al 
though a number of general compilations of legislation like 
those in Castile were made. These became supplements 


THE ARAGONESE STATE, 1276~1479 167 

to the already-mentioned code of Jaime I. 1 Other volumes 
were prepared of the customs of the realm, and the agree- 
ments of the Cortes were also an important legislative source. 
The abolition of torture and of the vulgar proofs may be 
mentioned among the reforms in judicial procedure. The 
nobles remained almost wholly exempt from taxation, even 
with respect to the lands which they might acquire in royal 

The relations of the state and church hi Aragon were more Relations 
acute than in Castile, because of the consequences of Pedro of church 
IFs act of vassalage and the wars in Italy, and because of ? nd state 
the Great Schism, in which Aragon played a leading part, m Ara ^ OIL 
since one of the anti-popes, Benedict XIII, an Aragonese, 
fixed his court in Aragon for a time, causing a divided alle 
giance of the clergy. The matter of the election of bishops 
was settled early in favor of the popes when Jaime II enacted 
that the pope himself should appoint them. This occasioned 
a number of disagreeable results, especially at the time of 
the schism, when there were two or more popes. Some 
appointments were manifestly improper. Clement V ap 
pointed his nephew, a mere boy at the time, as archbishop 
of Saragossa, and even Benedict XIII, though a man of the 
highest character, made a similar appointment to the arch 
bishopric of Toledo. In other respects the kings often 
insisted on the rights of the state, and intervened in matters 
of an ecclesiastical character. Alfonso V was the first 
Aragonese ruler to pronounce for the retention of papal 
bulls when their publication was against the interests of the 
monarchy, availing himself of the pose regio (royal permit), 
on which the kings based their claims to prevent documents 
which displeased them from being put into effect or even 
from reaching their intended destination. Pedro de Luna 
had for a long time been influential in Spain before he be 
came Pope Benedict XIII ; he it was who persuaded Juan I Benedict 
of Castile and Juan I of Aragon to recognize Clement VII 

1 la 1283 the General Privilege was added as book eight, for 
there had been the usual seven parts in the code of Jaime I ; in 
1300 the reforms of Jaime II; in 1348 those of Pedro IV; and 
finally those of Juan I and Martin I. 



of Avignon instead of the pope at Rome. He himself suc- 
ceeded Clement VII, and because of his upright character, 
piety, intellectual capacity, and Spanish blood received the 
adhesion of most of the peninsula prelates. It was largely 
through his support that Ferdinand of Antequera was 
crowned king of Aragon instead of Jaime of Urgel. When 
a general church council was called to elect a pope to replace 
the three then in power, Benedict XIII alone of the three 
refused to abdicate. Ferdinand, who for a time endeavored 
to support him, felt obliged at last to deny him obedience. 
Benedict maintained himself in the fortress of Peniscola 
until 1422 or 1423, when he died, almost certainly poisoned 
by a friar. His cardinals elected Gil Munoz, a canon of 
Barcelona, but in 1429 Munoz renounced the title and the 
schism ended. 

tance of 
the Cata 
lan towns. 


The most marked feature in the political life of Catalonia 
in this period was the rise of the towns, and especially the 
vast power exercised by the city of Barcelona. The towns 
became veritable lords, buying jurisdictions, privileges, 
immunities, castles, and lesser towns from the king, just as 
the nobles were in the habit of doing. Important cities got 
to be protectors of villages and towns, granting the right of 
carreratge, which entitled them to be considered a street of 
the city. As a rule the kings favored this increase in the 
power of the municipalities, and the latter might have made 
themselves an irresistible force, had it not been for their 
internal party strife, and for the armed struggles of rival 
cities. There began to be a certain uniformity in the or 
ganization of -royal towns in the thirteenth century, and in 
the fourteenth it became more marked under the influence 
of the centralizing policy of Pedro IV. The general assembly 
was the basis of government at first, but its place was taken 
later by a council elected from the wealthy citizens; at 
times, the officials themselves were the only ones to vote, 
and they too chose the representatives to the Cortes. This 
aristocratic form of government did not please the kings, 

THE ARAGONESE STATE, 1276~1479 169 

since it tended to create a force which would be hostile to 
them and led to social strife in the municipalities, where 
fore matters were adjusted at the close of the fourteenth 
century by the entry of the popular element into the council. 
Just as in Castile, the nobles and churchmen were forced to 
grant privileges to their towns almost equal to those enjoyed 
by the royal municipalities, in order to retain the people. 
They still collected certain taxes, exercised judicial powers, 
and appointed some officials, but the greater part of local 
administration was in the hands of the towns themselves, 
which developed along lines similar to those of the royal 

The most accentuated representation of municipal life Greatness 
was to be found in the city of Barcelona. The administra- of the 
tive organization of the preceding era did not change funda- 
mentally, but the power and privileges of the city increased 
greatly, due to the concessions of the kings. The council 
of five was at first composed only of honrats, or members of 
the bourgeois aristocracy, but by the year 1455 only two 
were of this class, a third was a merchant, a fourth an artist, 
and a fifth an artisan. The classes of lower grade than the 
honrats were admitted to the Consell in 1387, and by the end 
of the period the popular element had become preponderant. 
The five councillors, though subject to the Consell, formed 
an administrative commission for the government of the 
city. It was also their privilege to advise the king, some 
thing which they frequently did, and they were charged 
with the duty of maintaining the charter rights of the city, 
a matter to which they attended most zealously, even to 
the point of war with the king. Through purchase, annexa 
tion, royal donations, and the extensive application of the 
institution of carreratge Barcelona acquired a * great part^of 
Catalonia and other portions of the realm ; the possession 
of Elche and other towns in Valencian territory illustrates 
the far-reaching authority of the great Catalan city. ^ The 
subject towns had a right to protection and to the privileges 
and exemptions of Barcelona, in return for which the ktter 
had more or less complete control of the administration of 
justice, was supposed to have their cooperation in matters 


of general interest, and was entitled to contributions of 
soldiers and the payment of certain tributes. Tbe vast 
power of Barcelona was not always exercised for the best 
interests of the state, as in the case of the blow inflicted on 
the commerce of Valencia, through the influence of Barce 
lona, whereby no merchandise was allowed to be shipped 
from that port in foreign vessels. , At times, the governing 
authorities of Barcelona equalled, or even exceeded, the 
power of the deputation of the Cortes of Catalonia, and sus 
tained disputes with it. On the other hand, Barcelona re 
peatedly intervened in the struggles of caballeros, towns, 
and social classes to impose peace. The authority of the 
city was reflected in the pride of its aristocracy, the honrats. 
They enjoyed the right of riepto, or duel, the same as mem 
bers of the nobility, and vigorously protested against meas 
ures which seemed to place them on a lower level than any 
other class of society, for example, when the order of 
St. John proposed to admit only the descendants of nobles. 
Anybody might become an honrat if he combined certain 
prerequisites, such as wealth, with an election by the council. 
Struggle The same struggle of absolutism against the seigniorial 
between elements appeared in Catalonia as in Castile and Aragon, 
absolutism although the monarchy was more consistently victorious 
iorial 61g11 " there than elsewhere. The nobles opposed the kings, though 
society in somewhat weakly, for they were more concerned with the 
Catalonia, social problems of the era. The cities and towns, especially 
Barcelona, also constituted a feudal element which was not 
always in accord with the king. Although during most of 
the era there was no armed conflict between these forces, 
there were a number of symptoms of discontent which at 
length broke forth in the civil wars of the reign of Juan II. 
Some of the causes of dissatisfaction were the following: 
the belief that their Castilian sovereign, Ferdinand I, and 
his successors had an exaggerated ideal of absolutism; the 
employment of foreigners in public offices, especially Cas- 
tilians, by the same monarchs, a demonstration also of 
the lack of Spanish national feeling; and the absence of 
Alfonso V in Italy and his expensive wars there, although the 
Catalans were as a rule partisans of the policy of Mediter- 

THE ARAGONESE STATE, 1276-1479 171 

ranean expansion. Fundamentally, however, the strife at 
the end of this period was a conflict between centralized 
absolute monarchy and decentralization based on charter 
rights. Neither Juan II nor his predecessors varied the 
charters or the political organization of the principality, 
but nevertheless the blow was struck, and the downfall of 
the sovereign rights of the lords and towns was already at 

The Cortes continued to meet separately from that of The 
Aragon and to be chiefly important for its grant or refusal Catalan 
of taxes. The third estate (representatives of the towns) Corie ** 
endeavored to establish its right to participate with the king 
in legislation, but the latter made laws independently of 
the Cortes as before. When the Cortes was not in session, 
it was represented by the general deputation, or Generalised, 
usually made up of three members, or one for each branch of 
the Cortes. In addition to keeping watch to see that the 
laws were strictly observed, the deputation had certain 
police powers, including the defence of the principality, and 
other less notable administrative functions. The general 
Cortes of the entire realm held occasional meetings, as did 
also a new Cortes for the Mediterranean possessions of the 
kingdom (Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and Naples). 

Legislation was characterized by the variety of jurisdic- Legisla 
tions of former years, but the number of grants of new mu- tion in 
nicipal charters diminished greatly, and the general decrees Cataloma - 
of the kings increased. If this manifested a tendency toward 
unity, the citation of the principles of the Roman law did 
so even more. This had already proved influential in the 
preceding era, but it did not establish itself securely ^until 
the fifteenth century. There was a strong sentiment in its 
favor in Catalonia, and Pedro IV ordered its study and its 
use in cases at law. Finally it was established in the Cortes 
of 1409 that the Roman and canon law might be cited as 
supplementary law after certain other specified legal sources. 
Like the adoption of the Partidas in Castile (in 1348) this 
meant an ultimate, complete victory for the Roman prin 
ciples. In most other respects the administration of justice 
in Catalonia followed the course already described for 



tration in 

Power of 
the great 

Castile. In financial history the only features worthy of 
note were the development of a system of taxation by the 
deputation of Catalonia, whereby it met its own expenses 
and provided funds for the grants to the king, and the 
growth of a system of municipal finance in Barcelona on a 
scale in keeping with its extensive power. In both military 
and naval affairs the authority of the deputation was the 
most striking element. This body merely loaned the army 
and navy to the king, specifying the cases when the loan 
was allowable. The principal military force was that of 
the municipal militia, although the seigniorial levies still 
formed part of the army. In addition to the flotilla of the 
deputation there were the navies of the king, of the corpo 
ration of merchants of the city of Barcelona, and of private 
individuals or towns. The most persistent enemies in the 
Mediterranean were pirates, both the Moslems of northern 
Africa, and the Christians from Majorca, southern France, 
Italy, and Catalonia itself. Towers were built and a mes 
senger service developed to advise of the presence of pirates, 
but the evil was not eliminated. 

The general relaxation in the customs and discipline of 
churchmen already mentioned in the case of Castile and the 
course of ecclesiastical history described for Aragon apply 
equally to the church of Catalonia. The most noteworthy 
characteristic in the relations of the church and state was 
the continuation of the feudal authority of the more power 
ful prelates. Principal among them were the bishops of 
Gerona, whose dominions and wealth in personalty were 
greatly increased in this period. As they were virtual 
monarchs on their lands, they were able to challenge the 
authority of neighboring nobles or of the kings themselves, 
and they oppressed the people. Their scant respect for the 
royal power was often displayed; on one occasion they 
compelled two of the highest officials of the kingdom to 
walk through the streets of Gerona in the garb of criminals, 
submitting all the while to a beating, and made them ascend 
the long stairway fronting the cathedral on their knees, 
wearing only a shirt, and carrying a candle. Several of 
the bishops were banished, and even the nobles joined the 

THE ARAGONESE STATE, 1276-1479 173 

kings against the ecclesiastical lords. The Franciscans and 
Dominicans opposed the bishops and abbots, but although 
they had popular sympathy in their favor they did not have 
an equal political influence, since they were not represented 
in the Cortes. The power of the great churchmen was not 
materially diminished, but the last bishop of Gerona in the 
era was a strong partisan of the king. 


In some parts of Valencia the law of Aragon applied, but Distino- 
the usual rule, especially after the victory of Pedro IV, was ti ve foa- 
the jurisdiction of the laws, or furs, granted by Jaime I, ^ es *? 
added to, or modified by, the grants of different kings and po ]iticai 
the ordinances of the Cortes. The law of Barcelona applied life. 
?n a number of towns which were joined to that city by the 
institution of carreratge. In general administration the 
practices were much the same as those mentioned for Castile. 
The extreme harshness of judicial punishments, possibly 
surpassing other regions, may be noted. The death penalty 
was habitually given, and various cruel methods of execu 
tion were employed. A sentence of imprisonment was 
rarely inflicted. The greatness of the city of Valencia was 
almost as noteworthy in this part of Spain as that of Bar 
celona in Catalonia. Valencia put itself at the head of the 
Union which fought Pedro IV, only to go down in defeat. 




General A CONTINUATION in this era of the factors which had tended 

factors of j n ^ e preceding period to develop material resources brought 
economic a but progress in agriculture, stock-raising, mining, industry, 
life, and commerce, although it was not great enough to cause 

general economic prosperity. The stock-raisers, as before, 
received more favors than their rivals, the farmers, and it 
was at this time that the powerful corporation of sheep 
men, the Mesta, was formed. Alfonso X granted charters to 
various of these corporations, entitling them to elect alcaldes 
with special jurisdiction in the affairs of the Mesta and 
its disputes with the farmers. The different organizations 
were united in the reign of Alfonso XI to form a single 
Castilian Mesta, a body which possessed immense power. 
Gold, silver, quicksilver, and lead mines were worked to some 
extent; these, with salt mines and fisheries, constituted a 
royal monopoly, but were exploited by private individuals 
who paid rent to the kings. The advance in industry was 
particularly marked. Santiago de Compostela no longer 
enjoyed a unique position as a manuTacfufing centre, for 
every important town now had its industries devoted to 
supplying the needs of daily life and the exigencies of a grow 
ing artistic refinement, as evidenced by the wealth in jewelry, 
arms, architecture and its appurtenances, furniture, rich 
embroideries, and other articles far superior in quality and 
quantity to those of the preceding era. The towns conquered 
from the Moslems, especially the city of Seville, were par- 



ticularly noteworthy for their industrial life. Among the 
principal commercial outlets for Castilian products were 
the ports of the Basque provinces; their exports seem to 
have been chiefly raw materials, but there were also such 
items as cloth, wine, oil, and sugar. It is probable, however, 
that most of the manufacturing done in the Castilian towns 
was for the consumption of the towns themselves and a very 
limited neighboring area. Distribution within Castile was 
not well developed, for many of the same (or similar) prod 
ucts as those exported were also imported. Industry and 
commerce were very largely in the hands of foreigners, 
Jews, and Mud6jares. 

Legislation showed the double tendency of encouraging Legislative 
economic development and of checking it by laws looking helps and 
to the temporary needs of the royal treasury. The Partidas Hindrances 
urged the cultivation of the soil, the building of bridges and. to e( ? " 
repair of roads, the prevention of frauds in customs houses, progress, 
and the exemption of certain imports from the payment of 
duty when they seemed likely to aid in material progress, 
such as farming utensils when destined for use by the im 
porter himself and not intended for resale. Commercial 
treaties with foreign countries began to be made in the 
fourteenth century, although often by merely a portion of 
the kingdom, particularly the north coast ports ; thus there 
were treaties of 1351 and 1366 with England. On the other 
hand there were the royal monopolies, the alcabala, and the 
rigid maintenance of customs duties, for the exemptions, 
after all, were few in number. Not only was there the ob 
stacle of different state boundaries, but also there were the 
duties collected by many, if not most, of the towns. No 
distinction was made as to the source of goods, and those 
of Castile paid equally with foreign products. Another hin 
drance to economic advance was the well-intentioned, but 
mistaken, policy of excessive governmental regulation of the 
industries. Both the state and the guilds themselves made 
laws fixing wages, the hours of labor, prices, methods of con 
tract, amount of interest, and even the way in which goods 
should be made. These regulations were not uniform for 
all Castile, but varied according to the special circumstances 


of the different regions. The municipalities also intervened 
to fix prices for goods of prime necessity or of general use. 
At times they granted an exclusive right of sale, or estab 
lished municipal shops. 

Progress To facilitate commerce fairs and general markets were 
in com- greatly resorted to, being established by law, or, if already 
merce. ^ ex i s tence, favored by grants of new privileges. The in 
security of the roads and the civil wars prevented the royal 
grants from having their full effect, and other circumstances, 
such as the popular attacks on Jewish districts, the variety 
and uncertainty of coins and of weights and measures, the 
debasement of the coinage by the kings, and the prevalence 
of counterfeiting (despite the penalty imposed, burning 
to death), tended to interfere with commerce. Nevertheless, 
notable progress was made. Bills of exchange first appeared 
in this era. Foreign merchants visited Castile, and Cas- 
tilians went abroad, especially to England and Flanders; 
there were Castilian consuls in Bruges. The Jews figured 
prominently in foreign trade, as money changers and makers 
of loans, while their international relations due to the soli 
darity of their race enabled them to act as bankers. 
Public Something, thdugh little, was done to assist in economic 

works. betterment by the building of public works. The lords, 
both lay and ecclesiastical, resisted many of these projects, 
notably the building of bridges, since it deprived them of the 
tolls which they were in the habit of collecting for ferrying 
goods, animals, and persons across the rivers. Men travelled 
on horseback, or on a litter, and goods were carried by pack- 
animals or carts, although the latter could rarely be used 
because of the bad condition of the roads. Measures to 
improve the highways were frequently taken, however. 
The greater part of the revenues devoted to public works 
was still applied to the building or repair of fortifications. 

Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia 

The economic history of this region, based on the natural 
differences of the three principal sections, followed much 
the same lines as before, but the principal note was the all- 


round development in Catalonia. Grain in that region was Economic 
scarce, on which account large quantities were imported factors in 
from Aragon and from foreign countries, but some other tne ^* n g- 
agricultural products, such as rice, grapes, and olives, were ^^^ 
cultivated with success. Stock-raising was also a prominent especially 
occupation. The most important source of Catalan wealth in Cata- 
continued to be in manufacturing, especially in Barcelona. Ionia. 
A great variety of cloths and fabrics was made, as also pot 
tery, barrels, rope, glass, and many other articles of prac 
tical utility. Aragon was less important in commerce, as 
in other respects, than the other parts of the realm. Some 
thing was done there by royal legislation to favor trade, and 
enough of it existed to warrant the founding of a consulado in 
Saragossa (1391) with mercantile jurisdiction. Catalan 
commerce was so great in volume that it rivalled that of the 
Italian cities. From the Scandinavian lands in the north 
west to the extremes of the Mediterranean, Catalan ships 
might be seen, and if there were many Italian vessels which 
visited the ports of Catalonia, so too the Catalans carried 
their trade to the cities of Italy, where many Catalan con 
suls resided. Kings, lords, and towns endeavored to build 
up Catalan industry and commerce, by favorable legislation, 
by extending the institution of the consulados, and by making 
commercial treaties. Nevertheless, not a few obstacles 
were also raised, largely as a result of the false economic 
ideas of the era. Thus, prices were often fixed; a precise 
order, or sequence, of sale might be required, for example, 
in La Bisbal the crop of the bishop had to be sold first; 
the technical regulation of industries was carried to excess, 
far beyond the rules established in this respect in the other 
lands of the peninsula ; taxes were numerous in kind, and 
some were very heavy; and the policy of protection was 
carried to extremes in favor of some municipalities as against 
others. Furthermore there were dangers of piracy and the 
insecurity of the roads. Valencia was commercially pros 
perous in only less degree than Catalonia. Both regions 
were represented principally, in industry and commerce, by 
their great capital cities. 
Barcelona was easily the greatest industrial and mercantile 


The Indus- centre in Spain, and was also the leading exponent of the 
trial and Catalan policy of protection. Foreign goods like those pro- 
mercan- duced m Catalonia were either prohibited from entry or 
system of c h ar g e d with excessive duties. On the other hand, the im- 
Barcelona. porting of goods which had no counterpart in Catalonia, 
such as fine cloths, or which existed in small quantity, such 
as grain, was encouraged. In the case of grain, premiums 
were granted to importers, and heavy export duties were 
collected, or its exportation entirely prohibited. From 1249 
to 1347 the Consell exercised mercantile jurisdiction through 
the medium of two consuls of the sea (consules de mar), 
but in the last-named year a consulado was created to per 
form that function and to provide for the protection of com 
merce against pirates. Both the deputation of the Cortes 
and the two local councils occasionally intervened, however. 
The local authorities appointed the consuls to represent 
Catalan interests in foreign countries. This was a post of 
high consequence, and was rewarded by a grant of a certain 
percentage of the purchases and sales of merchandise in the 
entire realm of Aragon. The consuls acted as judges, mer 
cantile agents, and guardians and defenders of the persons 
and property of their compatriots. The councils of Bar 
celona concerned themselves with the introduction of new 
industries, bringing in foreigners skilled in such manufac 
tures. Financial and technical experts were maintained at 
municipal expense. Not only do these facts evidence the 
attention paid by the people of Barcelona to mercantile life, 
but they also demonstrate a surprising modernity in point 
of view. It is no wonder that the merchants of that city 
were notably wealthy, proud, and given to luxury. 
Economic Favored by the rich agricultural productivity of the Valen- 
promi- cian kingdom, the industrial traditions of the Moslem popu- 
nence of l a tlon, and the energy of its Catalan bourgeoisie, the city of 
ValencL Valencia became a veritable rival of Barcelona in industry 
and commerce, and enjoyed a wide fame in Mediterranean 
lands, especially in Italy. A consulado was founded as early 
as 1283, and the first bills of exchange known in the peninsula 
(from 1376) were drawn up in Valencia. Legislation favoring 
Barcelona at Valencia s expense caused a considerable 


damage to the latter s commerce, although it continued to 
be important. 

In the erection of public works this was a notable era in Public 
all the kingdom of Aragon. A number of bridges were built, works, 
and tolls were collected to pro vide for their preservation and 
repair. The Catalans were particularly mindful of improv 
ing their ports. That of Barcelona was enlarged in the four 
teenth century, and in the fifteenth an artificial port was 
begun and completed. The fifteenth century also marked 
the beginning of work on the artificial port of Valencia. 
Old roads were improved and new ones built. A consider 
able advance was made in works of irrigation in all parts of 
the realm. In this respect Valencia took the lead, making 
use of the canals dating from the Moslem period, but ampli 
fying and improving them. A mail service developed at 
this time. The kings and the municipalities had their sepa 
rate mails, but in Catalonia there was also a private mail- 
carrying industry as early as the latter part of the thirteenth 


ning of 
ity in the 

teristics of 
the era. 



WITH the advance of the Christian conquest against the 
Moslems the political centre had passed from the northern 
coast to the Castilian table-land, and thence to Andalusia, 
where for a time the court was set up in Seville. There was 
a tendency, however, to return to Castile proper, since the 
people of that region were the principal element in the con 
quest and in internal political affairs. The political pre 
ponderance of the Castilian part of the realm was so clearly 
established that it transformed that region in many ways, 
and caused it to have for the first time a civilization superior 
to that of the coastal plains, overcoming the geographical 
handicaps which hitherto had held it back. The predomi 
nance of Castile in intellectual life was to become yet more 
marked in later centuries. In earlier times the rude Astu- 
rians and Galicians had joined with the no less rude Leonese 
and Castilians against the Moslems, but they had become 
modified by contact with the conquered people themselves 
and with the various foreigners who joined them in the con 
quest. The indigenous people did not lose their own indi 
viduality, however; rather they assimilated the new influ 
ences, and paved the way for the brilliant and original 
manifestation of intellectual culture of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries. The principal characteristic of this 
epoch was the desire for knowledge, leading to the incor 
poration into indigenous civilization of many other elements. 
The conquest of Andalusia brought Castile into more inti 
mate contact with Moslem civilization, which reached itf 



culminating point in science and in art in the fourteenth 
century. French elements continued to affect polite litera 
ture and didactic works. Especially noteworthy was the 
great prominence of the influences coming out of Italy, 
giving a new direction to Castilian literature, and substituting 
for the Moslem scientific element the direct study of classical 
texts and the use of observation and experiment as a means 
to knowledge. The entry of western European culture into 
Castile was accelerated by those Castilians who went to 
France and Italy at this time to study in the great schools 
and universities of those lands. The two capital moments 
of the era were the reigns of Alfonso X and Juan II. 

The universities increased in number and influence to the TJniver- 
point of being a vital factor in the intellectual life of the sityand 
period. In the Partidas, Alfonso X distinguished between 
the "general studies" founded by the pope, emperor, or 
king, and the "particular studies/ 3 the creation of an indi 
vidual or town. The former combined secondary and higher 
education, for the old trivium and quadrimum were retained, 
with the addition of the Roman and canon law. 1 Gradually 
the higher studies began to predominate, and associated them 
selves with the term "university." The "particular 
studies" were usually conducted by a single master with a 
few students, and were confined to some one or two branches 
of learning. Some of these subjects, when they differed 
from the fundamental courses of the "general studies/ 
tended to be adopted by the latter. Thus theology was 
added to the university curriculum in the fifteenth century. 
Other subjects were also studied in the universities, even 
though not common to all, such as medicine and surgery at 
Salamanca. Primary education was neglected, although 
the church schools still continued and some towns or indi 
viduals founded such schools. The universities received 
considerable government aid, but were autonomous, and 
depended in part on other sources of income, such as their 

1 In medieval schools grammar, rhetoric, and logic (comprising 
the trivium) were the principal studies, supplemented by arithmetic, 
geometry, astronomy, and music (or the quadrivium) . These 
subjects were almost unrecognizably unlike those of the same 
names today. 





and other 


on Cas- 





own fees and the gifts by individuals or corporations other 
than the state. The students and teachers together formed 
a cofradfay or fraternity, which elected its own rector, or 
president. A bishop, dean, or abbot was usually consti 
tuted a kind of guardian by royal mandate. This official 
was gradually replaced by the " schoolmaster of the cathe 
dral/ who came to be judge in cases affecting university stu 
dents, and even arrogated to himself the right to confer 
degrees, rivalling the president of the university in authority. 
All members of the university were granted special legal 
privileges (approximately those of the clergy) with respect 
to their persons and goods. The method of teaching em 
ployed was the reading of a text by the teacher, who com 
mented upon and explained it. Examinations were held for 
the granting of the bachelor s and doctor s degrees. Not 
only did each university possess a library, but there were 
also many other public and private libraries, and the trade 
of the copyist and the manufacture of books were markedly 
more prominent than before. In the universities texts were 
loaned (not sold) to students to enable them to correct their 
notes, which shows that books were still comparatively 
scarce. Some time before 1475, at an uncertain date, the 
art of printing was introduced into Castile, with effects 
which belong to the following eras. 

The oriental influence on Castilian thought and science, 
or rather tbe classical influences transmitted through Moslem 
and Jewish writers, advanced for a time, and continued to 
be preponderant until the fifteenth century, when European 
ideas, principally Italian, became the more important. 
There was a change in direction of the Moslem influence, 
however. Philosophy dropped back from the leading place, 
and was substituted by juridical and moral studies, while 
the physical and natural sciences, including their super 
stitious derivations, acquired a remarkable vogue. Chris 
tian writers imitated Moslem philosophers and moralists, 
or translated their works ; many Castilian writers were of 
Moslem or Jewish origin, or still continued to belong to those 
peoples and faiths; many Arabic works were included in 
the libraries of the time ; and the oriental form of scientific 


exposition, the encyclopedia, was frequently used. The 
oriental influence manifested itself especially in the natural 
sciences. Books of mathematics, physics, chemistry, medi 
cine, and astronomy were almost the only ones to be trans 
lated from the Arabic, and these branches were also the ones 
to which Mudejar scholars of the period most frequently 
devoted themselves. Moslems and Jews continued to be 
the most famous physicians of Castile. The deductive 
method and dialectic forms were still employed by them, 
rather than personal observation and experiment. The 
most marked characteristic of the cultivation of the natural 
sciences was in their extravagant applications with a view to 
a knowledge of the future or to obtain vast wealth through 
supernatural agencies. Thus chemistry tended toward 
alchemy, with the aim of finding the philosopher s stone, 
whereby base metals might be turned into gold, or with the 
object of producing mysterious elixirs endowed with wonder 
working virtues. Chemists and alchemists came to be con 
sidered as practicers of magic arts in more or less intimate 
communion with the Devil, a belief in which the individuals 
themselves often shared. Men of high attainments were 
credulous exponents of these superstitions, for example, 
Archbishop Alonso de Carrillo and the learned Enrique de 
Villena ; the latter attained to a legendary fame which has 
endured even to the present day. Similarly, astronomers 
were at the same time astrologers. Both alchemy and 
astrology served a useful purpose, however, in stimulating 
the study of the true sciences, with a resulting advance in 
knowledge. The age of the Moslem and Jewish philosopher 
was past, and very little that was original in the realm of 
philosophy appeared in Castile in this period; even theo 
logical writings were not prominent, despite the study of 
theology in the universities and schools. Moral and political 
literature abounded, such as discussions of the wiles or virtues 
of women on the one hand, and works on the relations be 
tween church and state on the other. In the latter respect 
ecclesiastical writers maintained the superior authority of the 
pope over the king, but were in the main defenders of mon 
archy, although distinguishing the legitimate king from the 




of Cas- 
tilian in 

tyrant, and sustaining the ultimate dependence of the mon 
arch on his people. The Italian influence appeared in phi 
losophy through translations of classical (Aristotle, Plato, 
Cicero, Seneca) and contemporary Italian (Colonna, 
Petrarch, Boccaccio) texts. The most influential mani 
festation of Castilian thought was in the field of jurispru 
dence, to which references have already been made in dealing 
with the Partidas and other legal volumes. The entire period 
abounded in this type of literature, not only in compilations 
of an official character, but also in those of private indi 
viduals, all of them greatly influenced by the legal works 
of Justinian. 

The same factors which affected the literary history of 
the preceding period continued to exist in this, although 
occupying different positions, and in addition competing 
with the Classical Renaissance and Italian elements, which 
almost overwhelmed the others. Just as in the scientific 
works, so in literature, these factors were assimilated and 
made over to produce the original Castilian product of suc 
ceeding centuries. Castilian became the language of poetry 
and of didactic works, routing its Galician and Latin rivals. 
Latin works were translated to Castilian, and from the middle 
of the thirteenth century the latter began to be used instead 
of the former in public documents. Galician-Portuguese 
lyric poetry, half erudite, half popular, born of the Provenal, 
which it had assimilated and transformed, advanced to its 
highest point, and seemed to have won a victory over 
Castilian. About the middle of the fourteenth century it 
commenced to decline, and by the end of that century 
Castilian lyric poetry was already predominant ; in the fif 
teenth century Galician ceased to be a literary language, 
and even Portuguese writers frequently used Castilian. 
Besides satire and even more sensuality than its Provencal 
prototype the Galician literature often included ethical and 
religious sentiments in the same poem. The Provencal in 
fluences proper also affected Castile, but did not take root 
as in Catalonia, because of the difference in language. When 
Galician poetry lost its place it was the Castilian which be 
came its successor, manifesting in one of its forms the same 


curious mixture of ethics and satire. At length a satirical 
element of a free and sensual type prevailed, and brought 
about a degeneration of this kind of literature. With the External 
fourteenth century the powerful Classical and Italian Re- influences 
naissance influences made themselves felt in Castile both in p po ? T 
poetry and in prose. Works of the classical poets (Homer, literature 
Virgil, Ovid, Lucan) and writers of prose (Livy, Sallust, 
Csesar, Plutarch, and others) were translated, and served 
to enrich Castilian literature both in form and in content. 
The Italian influence proper (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio) 
was by far the greatest, however, especially that of Dante, 
which vanquished the former French influence in poetry, 
and in part the Galician, and banished the earlier Castilian 
literary forms. The Italian influence was most deeply felt 
in its effects on lyric poetry. Epic poetry and prose were 
not altogether uncultivated, however, and in this field 
French influence continued to exist. Many of the older 
unwritten poems were reduced to writing, and French poems 
of chivalry and French novels of adventure, telling of the 
fantastic deeds of King Arthur, Charlemagne, the magician 
Merlin, and others, were repeated or reconstructed in Cas 
tilian. The fabulous element became predominant, lead 
ing to the books of caballeria, or chivalry, based on the 
extraordinary adventures of wandering knights (caballeros 
andantes ), full of the extravagant exaggeration of unbridled 
imagination. The first great work of this sort in the penin 
sula, and the best of its kind, was a novel by Vasco de Lobeira 
called Amades de Gaula, written originally in Portuguese, 
but already known in Castile in the later fourteenth cen 
tury. In the fifteenth century amatory novels began to 

The advance of the preceding period in historical literature Historical 
was continued in this. One of the principal names was that of literature. 
Alfonso X, who was also a writer of note in other branches 
of literature and learning. His principal work was a history 
of Spain, compiled probably by a number of men under his 
direction, just as the Partidas was. Various sources were 
employed, Spanish, French, Latin, and Arabic, and a certain 
spirit of criticism, superior to that of the earlier histories, was 





The de 

displayed. On the other hand the work was defective from 
the historiographical standpoint because of its lack of propor 
tion, its inclusion of epic poems in the body of tiie narrative, 
and its manifestation of an ardent patriotism. Perhaps 
the best historian of the era was the many-sided chancellor 
and litterateur, Lopez de Ayala, author among other his 
torical works of a chronicle of the reigns of Pedro I, Henry II, 
Juan I, and part of that of Henry III. Lopez de Ayala 
wrote in direct imitation of classical writers, especially Livy. 
Prez de Guzman, as author of a collection of biographies 
reaching down to the fifteenth century, made use of a 
psychological interpretation of human events. Dramatic 
literature did not change from the religious dramas and 
popular representations of jugglers of the preceding era, but 
progress was made in both of these forms, and each attained 
to greater favor, preparing the way for the rapidly ap 
proaching inauguration of the national theatre. 

Gothic architecture had its most brilliant expression in 
the early part of this period, degenerating later largely 
through an exaggeration of its elements. At the end of the 
thirteenth century Castilian Gothic may be said to have 
differed from that of the other European countries in the 
following respects : its maintenance of classical proportions, 
with scant difference between the length and width of an 
edifice, reducing the height ; less development in the use of 
windows; greater robustness of walls, columns, and piers, 
diminishing the importance of buttresses ; more nearly flat 
roofs; and the general use and ample size of cloisters in 
convents and churches. The structural basis and sober 
character of early Gothic began to be lost sight of in the four 
teenth century, and, in particular, ornamentation was used 
without any relation to structural needs. The corruption 
of Gothic became more and more marked in the fifteenth 
century, when proportions and structural ideals were for 
gotten, and adornment, notably in the use of pinnacles, was 
employed in excessive degree. It was at this time that the 
choir of Spanish cathedrals was moved to the centre of the 
nave, in front of the high altar. This was the greatest age 
of Gothic civil and military art, especially of the latter. 


Castles were more solidly and more richly built, with hand 
some towers and other exterior defences and with embattled 
walls. Towers and battlements also appeared on the walls 
of cities. Mudejar architecture continued to develop, MudSjai 
notably in Toledo and Seville, in both religious and civil architec- 
edifices, and some of the best specimens of this art date from ture - 
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It was especially 
employed in the interior decoration of palaces and private 
houses, in panelling, handsomely worked wooden roofs, 
painted and sculptured friezes, and the use of tiles. On the 
outside it appeared in eaves and beams of brightly colored 

Sculpture remained, as before, an adjunct of architecture, The lesser 
but was employed more than formerly in the ornamentation 
of buildings. In form it became more and more affected by 
Italian influences. The comparative wealth and luxury of 
the era, as well as the needs of religion, led to an advance in 
metal work and the making of jewelry and rich embroideries. 
The illumination of manuscripts reached a higher level than 
before, but declined before the end of the period, partly be 
cause of the invention of printing. The painting of windows 
in cathedrals attained to a greater richness and variety in 
scene, and wall painting acquired an independent position. 
The Italian influence of Giotto was apparent in the fifteenth 
century, although it did not get beyond the point of mere 
copying. The Flemish influence was more important, 
dating from Van Eyck s visit to Spain in 1428, after which 
date paintings in the Flemish style abounded in Castile, 
especially altar-pieces. Music turned upon singing, usually 
of one part, although occasionally other parts were sung. 
Musical instruments were employed solely for accompani 
ments of songs and dances. 


In intellectual culture Aragon proper, Catalonia, Valencia, 
and Majorca may be considered together. The same general 
line of progress was in evidence as that already described for 
Castile. There was the same eagerness for learning among 


General the upper classes, the same development of educational 
character- institutions, an analogous penetration of foreign influences 
St t C U (especially French and Italian), and an identical practice of 

tual cul- gi n g t other parts of Europe to study. The landmarks in 
ture in the intellectual history were the reign of Pedro IV in didactic 
kingdom literature, that of Juan I for the Proven$al troubadour 
of Aragon. literature, and that of Alfonso V for the Classical Renaissance. 
Education The most noteworthy university founded in the period 
an . d . was that of Barcelona, which evolved from an academy in 
printing. ^ e O p en i n g vears O f the fourteenth century to the rank of a 
university in 1450, with courses in theology, civil and canon 
law, philosophy, arts, and medicine. In addition to nu 
merous other schools similar to those of Castile there were 
two more or less distinct types here: the primary school, 
much more frequently met with than in other, parts of the 
peninsula; and the Lulian schools (due originally to the 
initiative of Raymond Lull, but carried on throughout the 
era), which devoted themselves primarily to philosophy, 
but also to foreign languages, especially Arabic. Naturally 
the invention of printing at the end of the period gave a 
fresh impulse to intellectual culture. The first book to be 
printed in this region was published in Valencia in 1474. 
In 1478, or a little before, books began to be printed in 

Leading Philosophy, medicine, nautical science, cartography, and 
currents in cosmography were the studies most cultivated. The influ- 
and Ug ence ^ ^ a y monc ^ Lull continued to be felt, both in the 
science. imitations and translations of Hebrew and Arabic philos 
ophers, especially Averroes, and in the reaction against 
them. In the fifteenth century the Italian, and to a less 
extent the French, influences began to be felt. The Nea 
politan court of Alfonso V was the great centre for the 
penetration of Italian and classical thought. Theologians 
proper contributed little in this period, but there were nu 
merous writings on ecclesiastical subjects, works of a 
controversial or moral nature, translations, and histories of 
saints, mystics, ascetics, and sacred orators. The extraor 
dinary development of the study of medicine was due pri 
marily to Jewish and Moslem elements. Toward the end 


of the fifteenth century a marked current of opinion against 
the deductive method in medicine and in favor of experi 
mental studies became apparent. Chemistry, the companion 
study of medicine, was much in favor, as also was alchemy, 
which counted King Juan I and Miguel Jimenez de Urrea, 
bishop of Tarazona, among its devotees. The Catalans 
and Majorcans were famous for then* knowledge of cartog 
raphy and the related sciences. To the Catalans were due 
the first map of the Danish peninsula and the correction of 
the maps of the Norwegian and Swedish coasts and the lands 
touching the Baltic Sea. Jaime Ferrer, a Marrano of Ma 
jorca, was the leading nautical and geographical scholar of 
those whom Prince Henry attracted to Portugal to prepare 
the Portuguese for their role in the history of maritime 
exploration. In addition to the kindred sciences of mathe 
matics and astronomy the pseudo-science of astrology was 
also much pursued. Just as in Castile, so in Aragon, juridical 
studies in both the civil and canon law had a great vogue. 

At the close of the preceding era Catalan was already Struggle 
being employed in prose works in Catalonia, while the of the 
Provencal predominated in poetry. In this period the 
Catalan, which also found support in Valencia and Majorca, castilian 
invaded all types of literature. Against this current there languages 
appeared two powerful forces which made themselves most for pre- 
felt in the last century of the era, Latin and Castilian. dominance 
Latin was much more firmly rooted in Catalonia than in 
Castile, and the Latin tradition was greatly reinforced by 
contact with the Classical Renaissance influences throughout 
the period, owing to the intimate political relations of the 
kings with Sicily and Naples. These influences were at 
their height in the reign of Alfonso V. Castilian had the 
support of Aragon proper, since the Aragonese tongue was 
very similar to that of Castile, and it was furthered by the 
Castilian dynasty of Ferdinand I, which began to rule in 
Aragon in 1410. The same element appeared at the court 
of Alfonso V, much frequented by Castilian and Aragonese 
poets, and even by Catalans who chose to write in Castilian. 
As a result Catalan began to decline as a literary language, 
although it did not disappear, but on the contrary improved 



The fine 


of Ara- 
gonese and 

in its elements and forms. Catalan poetry of the era never 
completely effaced the Proven9al influence, as evidenced by 
the subject-matter, which was predominantly amatory, 
although somewhat erudite, artificial, conventional, mystical, 
allegorical, satirical, and even moral. Catalan prose ap 
peared principally in novels of chivalry and in history. 
Castilian poetry and prose also had interesting manifesta 
tions in the entire realm of Aragon. The history of dramatic 
literature followed the same course as in Castile, although in 
some of the choral representations at the court of Alfonso V 
an approach to the modern theatre was made. 

With respect to architecture, sculpture, and the related 
arts the general remarks about their development in Castile 
may be applied to the kingdom of Aragon, subject to the 
observation already made l as to the difference of Catalan 
Gothic from that of Castile. The Italian influences were 
exceptionally strong in Catalonia and Valencia, and the 
French were marked in regions near the Pyrenees and in 
Majorca. One type of edifice peculiar to the eastern coasts 
was the defensive tower to which the inhabitants resorted 
on the appearance of pirates or in times of military danger. 
In painting, the Italian style of Giotto was more completely 
assimilated than in Castile. Flemish influences were 
equally prevalent. 

Despite the long occupation of the duchy of Athens by 
Catalan rulers, who used Catalan speech and customs, the 
Catalan-Aragonese civilization had no noteworthy effect 
in Greece, and, similarly, neither the Byzantine nor the 
Athenian civilization reacted upon the kingdom of Aragon. 
In southern France, however, the Catalan-Aragonese civi 
lization did produce effects, just as it was in turn affected. 
The same mutual exchange of influences was also observable 
between Aragon and Italy, if indeed the civilization of the 
latter was recognized as superior by the Spanish conquerors 
themselves. The principal impulse came at the time of 
Alfonso V and the contemporary papal reign of the Spanish 
pope, Alfonso Borgia, as Calixtus III (1455-1458). There 
was a great influx of Spaniards, especially from the realm 
1 See page 110. 


of Aragon, and as they occupied the highest official posts in 
southern Italy, they could not but make their presence 
felt. Many Spaniards left Italy upon the deaths of Alfonso V 
and Calixtus III, but others remained, and political relations 
were maintained between the two kingdoms, since the Nea 
politan ruling family proceeded from the same trunk as that 
of Aragon, thus preparing a new period of Spanish rule and 
influence with the reign of Ferdinand of Aragon. 


Outline of 

The _ 
bases of 


So far as they have not already been discussed, in dealing 
with Castile and Aragon, the institutions of Majorca, Na 
varre, the Basque provinces, and Granada may be dealt 
with here, especially in their original aspects. 


By the will of Jaime I, Majorca and the Roussillon were 
constituted into a kingdom apart from Aragon, but almost 
immediately afterward Pedro III of Aragon compelled 
Jaime II of Majorca to acknowledge the overlordship of the 
peninsula monarch. In 1349 Pedro IV of Aragon annexed 
Majorca, but the political change was one of monarch only, 
for Majorca continued to be a separate state with a history 
of its own. The political life of Majorca centred about the 
workings of the municipal organization of Palma, its capital 
city (on which the government of the island was based), 
and was involved with social problems. 

After the conquest of the island by Jaime I nearly all of 
the great nobles who had accompanied the king returned 
to the peninsula, granting their lands to caballeros of their 
following, or renting them to plebeian cultivators, and Jaime I 
did much the same. Thus the caballeros, or nobility of the 
second grade, were virtually the only representatives of the 
feudal aristocracy in Majorca, and laws were passed limiting 
the amount of land which they might hold, so as to avoid 
the evil of vast estates. The caballeros were reinforced by 
a Catalan middle class element which constituted a majority 
of the Christians in the island in the early years following 



the conquest. From these two elements there emerged a 
new aristocracy, based on wealth, growing out of Majorcan 
commerce, an aristocracy open to all, given to pomp and 
luxury, and dwelling mostly in Palma. Some of the wealthy 
lived in the country, where there was also a large number of 
free tillers of the soil. A few of these became wealthy, but 
there was always a tendency for the rich to migrate to 
Palma. The position of the rural classes was not satisfac 
tory at any time, but two causes appeared in the fourteenth 
century to make it worse. One was the increase in taxation 
after the reincorporation into the crown of Aragon, and the 
other a change in the form of wealth with the decline of 
Majorcan commerce in the latter fourteenth century, when 
the aristocracy of Palma began to buy lands and rights to 
collect taxes. Thus the rural districts became economically 
dependent on the absentee landlords at the capital, who were 
more zealous over the collection of their rents and taxes 
than in cultivating the land. Society divided itself largely 
on the lines of the country and the city, with the inhabitants 
of the former bitterly hostile to the aristocracy of the latter. 

Of the despised classes the Mudejares, as such, soon dis- Con- 
appeared, despite their great numbers at the time of the con- version of 
quest. Upon conversion to Christianity or emancipation tbeMudfi- 
from slavery they mixed with the lower classes of the Chris- j^j an 
tians, and were completely absorbed. The history of the 
Jews was almost identical with that of their race in the 
peninsula, but was involved with the peculiar social prob 
lems of Majorca apart from race and religion. The kings 
collected heavy tributes from them, but protected them, 
allowing them the free exercise of their business and the 
practice of their faith, exempting them from all taxation 
(even municipal) except the royal tributes, aiding them in the 
collection of debts, and facilitating the entry of Jews and 
Marranos into Majorca. Numerous attacks were made on 
them in the fourteenth century, culminating in the sack of 
the Jewish quarter of the capital in 1391 (the year which 
was so disastrous to the Jews in other parts of Spain), when 
some three hundred men and women were killed. In addi 
tion to the usual animosities against them because of their 



can gov 

religion and the incitement of debtors this attack was in part 
an outgrowth of the struggle of the rural classes against the 
landlords, to whom the sack of the Jewish quarter was a 
severe financial blow, since much of their wealth depended 
on their relations with the Jews, with whom also they were 
wont to deposit their jewels. The rioters were able to obtain 
decrees from the royal governor-general extinguishing debts 
and interest due to the Jews, confirming the title of those 
who had taken part in the attack to the money and jewelry 
they had stolen, pardoning all offences committed, and 
ordering an immediate conversion of the Jews. The general 
conversion took place at once, but had to be repeated in 1435. 
The muni- Since the outlying settlements were unimportant at the 
cipal form time of the conquest, the government of the city of Palma 
of Major- was ex tended over the entire island. At length the ad 
ministration at the capital was organized on the basis of a 
magistracy of six persons (a caballero, two citizens, two 
merchants, and an artisan), who served for a year and ap 
pointed their successors. The attempt to maintain this 
organization after the rural population had grown to ap 
preciable numbers was one of the causes of the social strife 
between the rural and city elements. Within Palma itself 
there were also the disputes of different social classes and of 
rival powerful families. By a reform of 1358 the rural popu 
lation obtained some financial independence whereby their 
contributions were limited to those which were to be applied 
for expenses in which they had an interest in common with 
the city, and a portion was assigned to them to spend on 
matters of their own, for which purpose a rural organization 
was formed to provide for the management of their affairs. 
Another reform established a council subordinate to the six 
magistrates, in which the rural population had a minority 
representation, thirty in ninety-three in 1398. This did not 
satisfy them, for they desired a complete separation from 
the city government. Still other reforms were made, but 
they did not get at the root of the evil, for the city remained 
dominant over the affairs of the country, oppressing the 
people both economically and politically. 
Shortly after the successful issue of the attack upon the 


commeroe . 

Jews in 1391 the rural levies moved against their Christian The social 
enemies in Palma. This time they failed, and a number of 
their chiefs were executed. No further conflict of importance 
occurred until 1450, when a bitter civil war broke out. 
Aided by the laboring classes of Palma the rural forces be 
sieged the capital, but were unable to take it. In 1452 the 
insurrection was put down. In 1463 there was another 
uprising, and from that date to the end of the era a state of 
affairs bordering on anarchy prevailed, enhanced by the 
economic decline of Majorca, and by the disorders on the 
mainland which filled the reign of Juan II. In the island of 
Minorca a parallel situation existed throughout the era in 
the conflicts of the capital, Ciudadela, with the rural districts. 

Majorca had an excellent climate and a fertile soil which Greatness 
fitted it for agricultural wealth, and the Moslems had 
furthered this by their use of irrigation. They had also 
engaged considerably in manufacturing, and had an already 
well-developed trade at the time of the conquest. Under 
Christian domination Majorca soon attained to an extraor 
dinary commercial importance, trading in all parts of the 
Mediterranean and in Flanders, and having consuls and 
commercial exchanges in nearly all European countries. 
In the fourteenth century more than thirty thousand sailors 
resided in Palma, and many foreign merchants dwelt there. 
The wealthy trader was the veritable great lord in the island, 
with his palaces, country estates, and his display of luxury. 
The decline set in about the middle of the fourteenth century, 
due in part to the annexation of Majorca to the kingdom of 
Aragon. Other causes hastened the fall : disastrous plagues, 
earthquakes, and floods; the advance of the Turks into 
Europe, cutting off a rich commercial field; the increased 
importance of the Italian cities in the eastern Mediterranean 
trade ; the raids of pirates ; the expensive wars of Aragon ; 
and the persistent social and political strife in Majorca itself. 
Nevertheless, a considerable trade remained until the middle 
of the fifteenth century, when a new series of misfortunes, 
such as the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the prohibition 
of the entry of Majorcan cloths into Naples, the competitior 
of Rhodes and Portugal in the east, and hostilities with tlu 




Moslem states of northern Africa (thus cutting off that avenue 
of trade), added to the continuing effect of some of the 
already-named evils, brought about the complete downfall 
of the Majorcan mercantile power. One advantage re 
sulted, though not great enough to offset the commercial 
loss : a beginning was made of a more intensive cultivation 
of the agricultural wealth which the island was so well able 
to produce. 


The institutions of Navarre at this time were affected by 
French influences, but in the main resembled those of the 
rest of the peninsula both in form and in their evolution, 
except that they displayed a backwardness which was natural 
in a region so thinly populated. The feudal regime per 
sisted, although some gains were made by the servile classes, 
the towns, and the kings. A. corporate sense of society, as 
manifested in the importance of the family as a whole and 
in the associations of neighbors and citizens (especially 
marked in the rural districts), still existed. The Mudejares 
and Jews were comparatively numerous, and then* lot was 
the same as in other parts of the peninsula. The marriage 
d yuras was sanctioned in Navarre longer than elsewhere, 
although at length it was banished. Barragania (much 
resorted to by churchmen) survived, and received a measure 
of acceptance. The customs of chivalry were greatly in 
vogue, and bull-fighting and ball-games 1 were very popular. 
Agriculture, with the aid of irrigation, and stock-raising were 
the principal occupations. In intellectual culture and the 
fine arts Navarre was rather a continuation of France than 
a part of Spain. The country was markedly backward in 

1 The Basque game, with which the people of Navarre were 
equally familiar. This game bears no resemblance to American 
base-ball ; rather it is more like a combination of tennis and hand 
ball. At the present time the players, three on a side, use a kind 
of bat, or racket, and a leather-covered, solid rubber ball. The 
ball is served against a side wall, and must be made to bound back 
over a net. The ball is thus kept in play until one side misses a 
return, which scores a point for the opponents. The side first 
making a required number of points wins the match. 


these respects, however, as evidenced by the ignorance of 
the clergy, compared with churchmen in other regions, and 
by the fact that the kings rarely had any books other than 
those of prayer. Although Basque was the national tongue, 
such books as were written usually appeared in Latin or in 
Castilian, one more demonstration of the intellectual 
predominance of central Spain. French Gothic prevailed 
\n architecture, sculpture, gold work, and painting. 

The Basque provinces 

The three Basque provinces of Alava, Vizcaya, and 
Guipdzcoa have always been unique in their history and character 
institutions, and are the subject of many popular legends of Basque 
more or less founded on fact, such as the one already dis- ^ions. " 
cussed that the Basques have never been conquered, and 
another that they are all nobles. In this period they were 
becoming more and more Castilian in customs, but they still 
retained much that was indigenous. 

In general social organization Alava did not differ from The 
other Spanish regions. It was technically a behetria de social and 
mar & mar (free town from sea to sea) : made up of a group political 
of small seigniorial estates, both noble and ecclesiastical, 
whose rulers were free to elect a common lord without 
being restrained to a determinate family. The untitled 
inhabitants were rural laborers, who were either serfs or in 
a state but little removed from serfdom, and the free, popular 
classes of the towns, but neither of these elements exercised 
great influence. After the incorporation of Alava into 
Castile in 1332, the older type of government, based primarily 
on the Cofradfa of Arriaga and the elected lord, underwent 
a radical change. The overlordship became fixed in the 
crown of Castile, and the cofradfa, disappeared, although a 
similar body soon developed. The king was represented 
at times by an adelantado as well as by lesser royal officials, 
and reserved high justice to himself, besides rights to mili 
tary service and a certain few taxes. Local government 
was carried on by various assemblies, reaching in a hierarchy 
from the lesser regional institutions to the general assembly 


for the entire province. The general assembly was botti a 
legislative and an administrative body, but its principal 
function was the inspection of royal orders to see if they 
conformed to the regional charters. A juridical difference 
existed between the towns and the country, for the former 
were ruled by Castilian law and the latter by ancient custom, 
resulting in the economic dependence of the rural laboring 
classes, even after serfdom had disappeared. 

The social Until its consolidation with the Castilian crown by in- 
and politi- heritance in 1370, Vizcaya was a behetrfa de linaje (free town 
cal system w ithm a family), electing its lord from a determinate family, 
Viz a but both before and after that date there was a marked lack 
of regional solidarity, for various groups were to a great 
degree autonomous. There were two principal types of 
jurisdiction : the seigniorial estates, with the usual incidents 
found elsewhere; and the indigenous Basque settlements, 
which pretended to the nobility of their inhabitants, even 
to the point of refusing to permit foreigners to dwell among 
them unless they too were of noble rank. The indigenous 
element was to be found in rural districts, and was ruled by 
customs, which were written down for the first time in 1452. 
The patriarchal form of family life continued to exist here, 
as evidenced by the requirement that lands should return 
to the family from which they proceeded in case of a failure 
of direct heirs, and by the right to leave virtually one s entire 
estate to a single descendant. Custom recognized a right 
of way over the lands of others, even when enclosed, 
which would seem to indicate backwardness in the develop 
ment of means of communication. In government the king 
was represented principally by a corregidor. The inhabitants 
of Vizcaya were exempt from any taxes of Castilian origin, 
but paid certain other contributions to the king, were sub 
ject to both military and naval service, and acknowledged 
the right of high justice in the royal^offieials. The general 
assembly of Vizcaya, like that of Alava, had a right to 
inspect royal decrees. 

The people of Guipfizcoa claimed to be of noble rank, and 
this status was legally recognized for most of them by laws 
enacted before, during, and after this period. Nevertheless 


the customs of the land itself amounted to a denial of their The social 
claim, and the familiar social differences existed, even anc * P ^*- 
though the majority of the people were legally nobles, ^ m s -^~ 
There was a seigniorial class of the usual variety, with Guiptizcoa. 
dependents in a more or less servile relation. A middle 
class nobility existed, composed of small proprietors or 
the industrial laborers and merchants of the towns. This 
element was very insistent on its noble rank (which indeed 
carried with it special privileges, such as the exclusive right 
to hold public office and certain exemptions from taxation), 
and enacted laws excluding those who were not of noble 
blood from a right to live in the towns. These laws were 
not enforced, however, and a popular class grew up, composed 
of Guipuzcoans whose noble rank was not recognized and of 
foreigners, many of whom settled in the land. Politically 
Guipuzcoa was a behetrfa subject alternately to the kings of 
Navarre and Castile, until in 1200 the overlordship became 
fixed in the Castilian crown. At first the king was repre 
sented by Siiijidelantado, who was customarily ruler at the 
same time of Alava or of the county of Castile ; later a cor- 
regidor for Guiptizcoa alone was named, while there were a 
number of royal merinos as well. There was no other or 
ganization for the entire province until the fourteenth cen 
tury, but each region dealt separately with the royal govern 
ment. Gradually, through the formation of groups of 
settlements, a general league and at length a general assembly 
developed, with much the same powers as the assemblies 
of Alava and Vizcaya. The municipalities continued to be 
the principal centre of regional autonomy, however, es 
pecially the more important towns, which protected the 
lesser settlements through an institution similar to the 
Catalonian carreratge. Like the other Basque provinces 
Guipuzcoa enjoyed a number of privileges, of which the 
most prized was the exemption from general taxation, al 
though certain specified tributes were regularly collected. 
More than once the province rose in arms to resist the im 
position of taxes of Castilian origin. 

Despite community of race and language the three prov 
inces never formed a political unit. At times Guipuzcoa 



of the 

Social and 





and Alava had the same adelantado or held general assemblies 
in common, and there were some instances where the as 
semblies of all three provinces met to discuss matters of 
common interest. Alliances were made between towns of 
the same or different provinces, perhaps including towns in 
France, for such purposes as the regulation of the use of lands 
common. In one respect there was a certain amount of 
unity (in interest at least) : in the conflict of the towns 
against the great lords and their allies, the rural population, 
in all three provinces. The lords were so turbulent that the 
kings joined with the towns in attempts to suppress them, 
and the lords even fought one another, wherefore their power 
was considerably reduced, though not entirely broken. 


According to modern estimates Granada had a population 
of three or four millions in its last days, which bespeaks a 
great density, due largely to the migrations of Mudejares 
from Christian lands. In social and political organization 
Granada was a miniature of the early caliphate. The Arabs 
reappeared as the principal element, and furnished the ruling 
family. They had the same scornful and quarrelsome 
aristocratic pride as in other days, and were opposed, as 
before, by the Berbers, who outnumbered them. The most 
numerous element was that of the Renegades, which was 
also next in importance to the Arabs. There were many 
thousands of Christian slaves as well. Signs of social decay 
were everywhere visible, especially in the passion of the 
wealthy for luxury and futile diversions at vast expense, 
while on the other hand there existed the poverty-stricken 
proletariat. 1 Internal political history reduced itself to a 
series of riots, assassinations, rebellions, acts of vengeance, 

1 After referring to the wealth of jewelry worn by the women 
of his time a Moslem writer goes on to say, "The women of Granada 
are beautiful, being distinguished for the symmetry of their figures, 
the gracefulness of then- bodies, the length and waviness of their 
hair, the whiteness and brilliance of their teeth, the perfume of their 
breath, the pleasing lightness of their movements, the cleverness 
of their speech, and the charm of their conversation." 


and exhibitions of partisan rancor. The influence of Chris 
tian Spain was more and more intense, manifesting itself in 
general customs and dress; even the practices of chivalry 
were introduced. Given the richness of soil and favoring Economic 
climate and the great population of Granada, it was natural wealth, 
that there should have been a considerable measure of 
economic prosperity there. This became less as the period 
advanced, as a result of political weakness and social decay, 
but Granada was still wealthy at the time (in the next era) 
it disappeared as a kingdom. 

In sciences and letters Granada continued the intellectual Granadino 
traditions of Moslem Spain, but it cannot be said that its architee- 
influence was great. In the arts, however, Granada intro- ture 
duced features of general importance, and especially in archi 
tecture, of which the outstanding example is the palace of 
the Alhambra in the city of Granada. The most salient 
note in Granadine architecture was richness in ornamenta 
tion, in which it is not surpassed by any other style in the 
world. The walls were adorned with relief work in stucco, 
and variegated azulejos tiles were also used in great profusion. 
The decorative motives were geometrical or floral, and the 
tout ensemble was not only brilliant in color, but also har 
moniously appealing. In structural features, too, Granadine 
architecture attained to great beauty. 



Transition THE joint reign of Ferdinand (1479-1516) and Isabella 
from (1474-1504), known as "the Catholic Kings/ witnessed 

medieval ^ substantial fulfilment of the aims of medieval Hispanic 
to modern , . j . ,v . i_ , M * i i 

Spain royalty, and at the same time began in striking tashion that 

complexity of life and action which characterizes the modern 
age. On the one hand the turbulent elements which had 
for so long stood for decentralization and disorder as opposed 
to national unity and internal peace were done away with 
or rendered powerless; on the other, life in its various in 
stitutional phases approximated itself in a considerable 
degree to that of our own times, and Spain stood forth from 
the domestic bickerings which had formerly absorbed her 
attention to enter upon the career and status of a world power. 
The greatest single event in the period was undoubtedly the 
discovery of America, from which came, directly or indirectly, 
Spain s principal claims to the recognition of posterity. 
Important only in less degree were the conquest of Granada, 
the establishment of the Inquisition and the expulsion from 
Spain of the non-Catholic elements, and Spain s entry into 
the maelstrom of European politics on a greater scale than 
ever before, through the medium of Ferdinand s interven 
tion in Italy. Measured by the success attained in their 
own day the Catholic Kings prospered in nearly everything 
they undertook, but the ultimate result, which could not have 
been foreseen at the time, was in many respects to prove 
disastrous to Spain herself, if, indeed, there were counter 
balancing advantages and a glorious memory. The wealth 
and greatness proceeding from the conquest of the Americas 



were to be sacrificed in a fruitless attempt to gain a pre 
dominant place in Europe, which, indeed, Spain might 
have had, much as England acquired it, if she had not pur 
sued it so directly and insistently, but had been willing to 
devote her attention to her colonies. On the other hand, 
the Americas drained Spain of some of her best resources 
in manhood, while the Italian wars brought her into the 
current of the highest European civilization. These con 
sequences, whatever attitude one may take with regard to 
them, did not become manifest until a much later time, but 
they had the most pronounced of their impulses, if not in 
all cases their origins, in the reign of the Catholic Kings. 

Ferdinand s accession to the crown of Aragon and the Nature of 
recognition of Isabella as queen of Castile did not at that the union 
time bring about a political union of the two kingdoms, and of Castile 
resulted in no radical change in the separate institutions of 
either. They did mean the establishment of consistent 
policies in each (especially in international affairs) which 
were to bring about a more effectual union at a later day 
and produce the Spanish nation. The first problem of the 
Catholic Kings was that of the pacification of their realms. 
Aragon and Catalonia offered no serious difficulty, but the 
violence of the Castilian nobility called for repression of a 
vigorous type. Galicia and Andalusia were the regions 
where such action was most imperatively needed. 

The real weakness of the seigniorial class is well illustrated Over- 
by the case of Galicia. The lawless conduct of the nobility th ? ow of 
and even of the high functionaries of the church was tra- j 6 ^" 
ditional, besides which Juana la Beltraneja had counted anarchy, 
with many partisans there. Petty war, the oppression of 
individuals and towns (through the medium of illegal tributes 
or the collection of those belonging to the kings), and an 
almost complete disobedience of royal authority were the 
rule. Resolved to do away with such an evil state of affairs 
the Catholic Kings sent two delegates there in 1480, the one 
a soldier, Fernando de Acuna, and the other a lawyer and 
member of the Consejo Real, Garci Lopez de Chinchilla, 
accompanied by three hundred picked horsemen. Without 
toss of time and with praiseworthy energy they proceeded to 



The con 
quest of 

carry out the royal will. Forty-six castles were demolished, 
the tributes which the nobles had been diverting from the 
king were collected once more for the royal treasury, many 
individuals of greater or less degree (both nobles and ordinary 
bandits) were put to death, and others were dominated or 
compelled to flee the country. Similar action was taken in 
Andalusia and Castile proper, wherefore within a few years 
the pacification of the kingdom was achieved ; the seemingly 
hopeless anarchy of the period of Henry IV had been over 


At the same time that the Catholic Kings were engaged 
in the establishment of good order in the realm of Castile, 
they were giving their attention to another problem which 
may well be considered as of domestic import, the long 
delayed conquest of Granada. The last years of the Moslem 
kingdom epitomized the history of that government during 
its more than two centuries of existence, with the important 
difference that it was no longer to escape the bitter pill of 
conquest which its own weakness and decadent life had long 
rendered inevitable once a determined effort should be made. 
There appeared the figure of the emir, Abul Hassan, domi 
nated by the passion which his slave girl, Zoraya, had in 
spired in him. Other members of his family, notably his 
brother, El Zagal (or Al Zagal), and his son, Abu Abdullah, 
best known as Boabdil, headed factions which warred with 
Abul Hassan or with each other. Meanwhile, the war with 
Castile, which had broken forth anew in 1481, was going on, 
and to the credit of the Moslem warrior as a fighting man 
was being sustained, if not with success, at least without great 
loss of territory. Ferdinand, to whom treachery was only 
a fine art of kingship, availed himself of the internal disorder 
of Granada to gain advantages to which his military victories 
in open combat did not entitle him. Twice he had Boabdil 
in his power as a prisoner, and on each occasion let him go, 
so that he might cause trouble for El Zagal, who had become 
emir, at the same time making promises of peace and of 
abstention from conquest which he disloyally failed to ob 
serve. Another time, El Zagal was similarly deceived. 
By these means, after ten years of war, Ferdinand was able 


to enter the Granadine plain and besiege the Moslem capital, 
courageously defended by Boabdil and his followers. The 
military camp of Santa Fe was founded, and for months 
the siege went on, signalized by deeds of valor on both sides* 
Overcome by hunger the defenders were at length obliged 
to capitulate, and on January 2, 1492, the Castilian troops 
occupied the Alhambra. Some time later Boabdil and his 
household departed for Africa. It is fitting to observe that 
many of the legends concerning this prince, notably those 
which reflect on his courage and manliness, are without 
foundation in fact. 

The terms of surrender had included numerous articles Forced 
providing for the security of the Moslem population. Vir- conversion 
tually they amounted to a promise that the Mudejar, or ?> 
Moslem, element would not be molested in any respect, O f Castile, 
whether in Granada or elsewhere in Castile. Such a treaty 
could not long be enforced in the face of the religious ardor 
and intolerance of the age. The greatest men of the king 
dom, and among them the most notable of all, the archbishop 
of Toledo, Ximenez de Cisneros, confessor of the queen, 
joined in urging a different policy. Pressure began to be 
exerted in direct contravention of the treaty to bring about 
an enforced conversion of the Mud6jares to Christianity. 
A Moslem uprising was the result, and this was seized upon 
by Xim6nez as justifying a complete disregard, henceforth, 
of the terms of the- capitulation, on the ground that the 
Moslems had nullified the treaty by their rebellion, a 
convenient argument which did not enquire into the real 
causes of the outbreak. Christianization by force, not with 
out a number of serious uprisings, now went on at a rapid 
rate, and was completed by a royal decree of 1502 which 
ordered that all Mud6jares in the Castilian domains should 
accept Christianity or leave the country. Many took the 
latter course, but the greater number remained, Christians 
in outward appearance if not so at heart. Officially there 
were no more Mudjares in Castile except slaves. The 
newly converted element became known, henceforth, as 
"Moriscos," thus attaching them by association of ideas to 
their ancient faith, and since their Christianity did not in- 



in north 
Africa and 


nand* s 

spire much confidence they were made subject to the dread 

The discovery of America in 1492, together with other 
factors, directed Castilian attention to the Canary Islands 
and northwestern Africa, bringing the Spanish kingdom into 
contact and rivalry with the Portuguese, who had devoted 
themselves to exploration, conquest, and colonization in 
that region for nearly a century. It may suffice here to say 
that in successive treaties of 1480, 1494, and 1509 Portugal 
recognized Castile s claim to the Canaries and certain posts 
in northwestern Africa. The security of the American 
route was not the principal motive of Castilian interest at 
that time in northwestern Africa. The wars with Granada 
and the danger of fresh invasions, coupled with the crusading 
zeal which had been aroused against the Moslems, and ag 
gravated by the activities of North African corsairs, were 
perhaps the leading factors affecting the policy of the Catholic 
Kings. In 1494 the definitive conquest of the Canary Islands 
was made, and at the same time a post was established on 
the neighboring coast of western Africa to serve as a centre 
for the resistance to the Moslems. Meanwhile, private 
attacks by Spaniards on North African ports were being 
made, but it was not until 1497 that the Catholic Kings 
formally embarked on that enterprise. Bent upon checking 
piracy in that region they took possession of Melilla, which 
thenceforth became an important Spanish post. 

While Ferdinand had much to do with the events which 
have thus far been discussed, he and his subjects of Aragon 
and Catalonia were more interested in other affairs. Fer 
dinand aimed at nothing less than a predominant place for 
Spain in European affairs, to be preceded by the establish 
ment of Aragonese supremacy in the Mediterranean. The 
principal stumbling-block was the power of the French 
kings. Ferdinand schemed, therefore, to bring about the 
isolation and humiliation of France. The entering wedge 
came through the French possession of the Catalan regions 
of Cerdagne and the Roussillon which had been granted to 
the king of France by Juan II. Charles VIII of France 
consented to restore the two provinces, but in return exacted 


Ferdinand s promise not to interfere with the former s de 
signs respecting the kingdom of Naples. Ferdinand readily 
agreed in 1493 to aid no enemy of the French king save the 
pope, and not to form matrimonial alliances between mem 
bers of his family and those of the reigning houses of Austria, 
England, and Naples. With Cerdagne and the Roussillon 
in his possession he proceeded with characteristic duplicity 
to disregard the treaty. Marriage alliances were projected 
or arranged, some of them to be sure before 1493, not only 
with the ruling families of Portugal and Navarre but abo 
with those of Austria and England. Thus Ferdinand hoped 
to secure considerable accesssions of territory and to avoid 
any interference on the part of the Holy Roman Empire 
and England, the only outstanding powers which might be 
able to hinder his plots against France. It is perhaps poetic 
justice that these plans, so cleverly made and executed at the 
time, were to have an ultimate result which was quite 
different from that which Ferdinand had reason to expect. 
Untimely deaths rendered the various Portuguese alliances 
of no effect ; the authorities of Navarre would have nothing 
to do with Ferdinand s proffer; and Spanish Catherine in 
England was to figure in the famous divorce from Henry VIII, 
precipitating the English Reformation. One marriage was 
productive of results, that of Juana, heir of Ferdinand and 
Isabella, to Philip the Handsome of Burgundy. Thus the 
Spanish kings were brought into the line of the Hapsburg 
family and of imperial succession, which was to prove less 
a boon than a fatality. 

Charles VIII wished to revive the Angevin claim to the The ac- 
Neapolitan territory held at the time by the illegitimate 
branch of Alfonso V of Aragon, related by blood to Ferdi- 
nand the Catholic. Alleging that Naples was a fief of the 
pope and therefore excepted from the treaty of 1493, Fer 
dinand resisted the pretensions of Charles, and formed an 
alliance with the pope, the emperor, Venice, and Milan 
against him. The forces of the league proving too much 
for him, Charles was forced in 1497 to suspend hostili 
ties, whereupon Ferdinand agreed with him in secret to 
divide Naples between them, renewing the agreement with 



Juana la 
Loca and 
"hilip the 

of Aragon 
in Italy 
and the 

Louis XII, who ascended the French throne in 1498. The 
division was carried jnto effect, but a quarrel sprang up over 
a certain portion of the territory, and war broke out. Thanks 
to the military genius of tire great Spanish leader, Gonzalo 
de Cordoba, Ferdinand was victorious by the year 1504 
and Naples came under his authority. 

In the same year, 1504, Isabella the Catholic died, leaving 
her throne to her elder daughter, Juana, and in case she should 
prove unable to govern to Ferdinand as regent until Juana s 
heir should become twenty years of age. Since Juana had 
already given evidence of that mental instability which was 
to earn for her the soubriquet "La Loca" (the Crazy), it 
was the intention of both Isabella and Ferdinand that the 
latter should rule, but Philip the Handsome, husband of 
Juana, intervened to procure the regency for himself. This 
was a serious set-back to the plans of Ferdinand, but for 
tunately for him there occurred the unexpected death of 
Philip in 1506. On the occasion of the latter s burial Juana 
gave such ample proof of her mental unfitness that it was 
now clear that Ferdinand would be called in as regent. In 
1507 he was so installed, and he now had the resources of 
Spain at his back in the accomplishment of his ambitious 
designs. Leaving Cardinal Ximenez to effect conquests 
in northern Africa and to carry into execution other Castilian 
projects -Ferdinand once again turned his attention to the 
aggrandizement of Aragon in Italy. 

In 1508 Ferdinand joined an alliance of the pope, the 
emperor, and Louis XII of France against Venice, whereby 
he rounded out his Neapolitan possessions. Seeing that the 
French were gaining more than he desired he formed a new 
alliance, in 1511, with the pope, the emperor, Venice, and 
Henry VIII of England against France. The French were 
defeated and thrown out of Italy. Meanwhile, Ferdinand 
had taken advantage of the French sympathies of the ruler 
of Navarre and the excommunication of that king by the 
pope to overrun Navarre in 1512. The pope sanctioned 
the conquest of that part of the kingdom lying south of the 
Pyrenees, and it was definitely added to the Spanish domain. 
The French became dangerous anew with the accession of 


the glory-loving, ambitious Francis I in 1515. Ferdinand 
hastened to concert a league against him, into which entered 
the pope, the emperor, Milan, Florence, the Swiss states, 
and England, but war had hardly broken out when in 1516 
Ferdinand died. For good or evil he had brought Spain 
into a leading place in European affairs. If his methods 
were questionable they were in keeping with the practices 
of his age ; he was only worse than his rivals in that he was 
more successful. 

Juana was still alive, but was utterly incompetent to act The 
as head of the state. The logic of events and the will of accession 
Ferdinand pointed to her eldest son, Charles of Ghent, as o* Charles 
the one to rule Aragon and Navarre and to act as regent of 
Castile (during his mother s life), although he had not at 
tained to his twentieth year, a condition which had been 
exacted by the will of Isabella. Until such time as he could 
reach Spain, for he was then in the Low Countries, Cardinal 
Ximenez served as regent. With two acts of doubtful pro 
priety Charles I, the later Charles V of the Empire, began 
his reign in the peninsula. He sent word to Xim6nez, 
demanding that he be proclaimed king of Castile, despite 
the fact that the queen, his mother, was living. Notwith 
standing the opposition of the Cortes and his own unwilling 
ness Ximenez did as Charles had required. In 1517 Charles 
reached Spain, surrounded by a horde of Flemish courtiers. 
Foreseeing the difficulties likely to result from this invasion 
of foreign favorites Ximenez wrote to Charles, giving him 
advice in the matter, and hastening to meet him asked for 
an interview. Instead of granting this request Charles sent 
him a note, thanking him for his services, and giving him 
leave to retire to his diocese "to rest and await the reward 
of Heaven for his merits." 


in the 
history of 
the era. 


of the 





SOCIAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 

THE most important events in Spain of a social character 
during the period of the Catholic Kings were the expulsion 
of the Jews and the conversion of the Castilian Mudejares, 
with the relations of the new Inquisition to both of these 
elements of Spanish society. Other events of more than 
ordinary note were the deprivation of the nobility of some 
of their former prestige, the settlement of the dispute be 
tween the serfs and lords of Catalonia, the purification of 
the Castilian clergy, and the definitive triumph of the Roman 
principles in private law. Greater than all of these were 
the problems which were to arise through the Spanish sub 
jection of new races in the colonies overseas. 

Though with diminished prestige the nobility continued 
to be the leading social class in Castile, sharing this honor 
with the higher officials of the church. Much of the former 
economic preponderance of the nobles was gone, due to the 
development of personalty as a form of wealth as distin 
guished from land, the fruit of the commerce and industry 
of the Jews, Mudejares, and middle classes. They suffered 
still further through Isabella s revocation of the land grants 
they had received at times of civil war and internal weakness 
in former reigns, especially in that of Henry IV. Few 
nobles or great churchmen, for the decree applied equally 
to the latter, escaped without loss of at least a portion of 
their rents, and some forfeited all they had. Naturally, 
the measure caused not a little discontent, but it was exe 
cuted without any noteworthy resistance. On the other 
hand, through the continuance of the institution of primo 
geniture and through new acquisitions of land in return for 


SOCIAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 211 

services in the war against Granada, the greater nobles still 
possessed immense wealth. The Duke of Medina Sidonia, 
for example, offered Philip the Handsome two thousand 
cabalkros and 50,000 ducats (8750,000) if he would dis 
embark in Andalusia. Not only in political authority but 
also in prestige the nobles were lowered by the measures of 
the Catholic Kings. Such practices as the use of a royal 
crown on their shields and the employment of royal insignia 
or ceremonial in any form were forbidden. On the other 
hand, the ancient privileges of the nobility, both high and 
low, were confirmed to them, such, for example, as exemp 
tion from taxation and from the application in certain cases 
of the penalties of the law. At the same time, the Catholic 
Kings offered a new kind of dignity, depending for its lustre 
on the favor of the crown. Nobles were encouraged to ap 
pear at court and strive for the purely ornamental honors of 
palace officialdom. Many came, for those who remained on 
their estates consigned themselves to obscurity, being without 
power to improve their fortunes by a revolt as their ancestors 
had done. In Aragon and Catalonia they still displayed 
tendencies to engage in private war and banditry, a con 
dition of affairs which endured throughout this period and 
into the next, though it was by no means so serious a problem 
as it had been in earlier times. 

The grades of nobility remained much as before, but with Grades of 
a change in nomenclature. The old term of ricoshombres nobility, 
for the great nobles disappeared (though not until 1520 
officially), and was substituted by that of grandes, or grandees. 
Among the grandees the title of duke (duque) and marquis 
(marques) now became of more frequent usage than the 
formerly more general count (conde). In the epoch of the 
Catholic Kings there were fifteen grandees in Castile, but 
eight of them had been created, with the title of duke, by 
Isabella. For the nobility of the second grade, the terms 
hijosdalgo (modern hidalgo] and caballero, used in a generic 
sense to denote noble lineage, were employed indiscrimi 
nately. Nobles without fortune lived, as formerly, under 
the protection of the grandees, or took service in the military 
orders or even in the new royal army. 


Advance The situation of the former servile classes of Castile, aside 
of the f rom tke slaves, had been rendered very nearly satisfactory 
m from a juridical point of view in the previous era, but their 

new liberty was insecure and was not freely accorded in 
practice. The Catholic Kings energetically cut short the 
greater part of the abuses, and definitely decided that a man 
adscripted to the land (a solariego) could sell or carry away 
his personalty, and go wherever he willed. In Aragon proper 
the problem was more serious, because of the social back 
wardness of that region. The first step toward freedom 
from serfdom was taken at this time, consisting in the fre 
quent uprisings of the serfs. Ferdinand made some attempts 
to modify the malos usos, or evil customs, of the relation of 
lord and serf, but found the institutions too deeply rooted 
in his day for remedy. In Catalonia, Ferdinand inherited 
the problem of the warfare of the serfs with the nobles and 
the high churchmen, against the latter of whom, particu 
larly the bishop of Gerona, the wrath of the rural classes 
was especially directed. At the outset he attempted, as had 
Alfonso V and Juan II before him, to utilize the quarrel to 
serve his own political and financial ends, accepting bribes 
from both sides. Finally, an agreement was reached 
whereby the king was to serve as arbitrator, without appeal, 
between the warring elements. The Sentence of Guadalupe, 
so-called because the evidence was taken and the decision 
rendered at Guadalupe in Extremadura, in 1486, was the 
judgment pronounced by Ferdinand. It went to the root 
of the matter by abolishing the malos uses and declaring the 
freedom of the rural serfs. Furthermore, the lords were 
deprived of criminal jurisdiction over their vassals, this right 
passing to the crown, and the same privileges as that just 
recorded in the case of the solarugos of Castile was granted 
to the rural masses of Catalonia. On the other hand, the 
now freed serfs were obliged to pay a heavy ransom to their 
lords. The decision satisfied neither party to the issue, but 
was accepted, and proved in fact the solution of the evil. 
A rural class of small proprietors soon grew up, while many 
other persons occupied lands for which they paid rent in 
stead of the former irksome services. 

SOCIAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 213 

If a policy of benevolent assimilation had been followed Policy of 
by the Christians of Spain with regard to the other great *he Catho- 
elements of the population, the Mudejar and the Jewish, J^J^th 
it is possible that the two latter might have been made use MudL & 
of to the advantage of the peninsula, for they were Spanish jares. 
in most of their habits, and had intermarried with Chris 
tians, even those of high rank. For centuries, however, a 
different practice, based primarily on religious intolerance, 
had tended to promote the adoption of an opposite course, 
and it was in the reign of the Catholic Kings that the first 
steps were taken to bring the matter to an issue. The 
measures by which the Mudejares were compelled to emi 
grate from Castile or become converted as Moriscos have 
already been chronicled, and the same procedure was taken 
with regard to Navarre and the Basque provinces. Fer 
dinand, who was less zealous in this undertaking than his 
pious consort, did not go to the same lengths in Aragon. 
On the petition of the lords, who had many Moslem vassals 
and feared to lose them, he confirmed the privileges of the 
Mudejares, though forbidding the erection of new mosques, 
and permitted of preaching to bring about their voluntary 

The hatred of the Christians for the Jews was so great Expulsion 
that the time was ripe for the final step in the measures * *he 
taken against them, and early in the reign of the Catholic Jews * 
Kings it was decided to expel them from the peninsula. 
While the religious motive was the principal one, Ferdinand 
and Isabella were also actuated, as indeed also in the case 
of the Mudejares, by their ideal of a centralized absolutism, 
wherefore an element which was not in sympathy with the 
religion of the state seemed to them to constitute a political 
danger. Their action was hastened, no doubt, by popular 
fanaticism, which expressed itself in numerous acts of vio 
lence against the hated race. With Granada conquered 
the Catholic Kings lost no time in promulgating a decree, 
dated March 31, 1492, requiring conversion or expulsion, 
and applicable to both Castile and Aragon. The Jews were 
granted four months to dispose of their affairs and leave Spain. 
The blow to them financially was ruinous. Forced sales, 



of the 
tor! in 

especially when there was so much to be sold, could not be 
expected to yield a fair return, and this was aggravated by 
prohibitions against carrying away any gold, silver, coin, 
or other kinds of personalty, except what the laws ordinarily 
permitted to be exported. The full effect of this harsh legis 
lation was avoided by some through a resort to the inter 
national banking agencies which the Jews had established. 
A number preferred to become Christians rather than go 
into exile, but thousands took the latter course. Some 
computations hold that as many as 2,000,000 left the country, 
but a more careful estimate by a Jewish historian gives the 
following figures: emigrants, 165,000; baptized, 50,000; 
those who lost their lives in course of the execution of the 
decree, 20,000. The exiles went to Portugal, North Africa, 
Italy, and France, but were so harshly treated, especially 
in the two first-named lands, that a great many preferred 
to return to Spain and accept baptism. Portugal and Na 
varre soon followed the action of Castile and Aragon, thus 
completing the cycle of anti-Jewish legislation in the penin 
sula. In law there were no more Jews ; they had become 

Not a few of the converts, both Mudejar and Jewish, 
became sincere Christians, and some of them attained to 
high rank in the church. Hernando de Talavera, for ex 
ample, at one time confessor of the queen and one of the 
most influential men in the kingdom, had Jewish blood in 
his veins. A great many, very likely the majority, remained 
faithful at heart to the religion of their fathers, due partly 
to the lack of Christian instruction, and even when they did 
not, they were suspected of so doing, or maliciously accused 
of it by those who were envious of their wealth or social 
position. This had led the Catholic Kings to procure a 
papal bull, as early as 1478, granting the monarchs a right 
to name certain men, whom they should choose, as inquisi 
tors, with power to exercise the usual authority of eccle 
siastical judges. This was the beginning of the modern 
Spanish Inquisition. Leaving aside, for the present, its 
formal constitution and procedure, its activities against 
converts may here be traced. The Inquisition began its 

SOCIAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 215 

work in Seville in 1480, with the object of uprooting heresy, 
especially among the Marranos. Afraid of being accused 
many fled, but enough remained for scores to be apprehended. 
In 1481 the first auto de fe (decision of the faith) was held, 
and sixteen persons were burned to death. From Seville 
the institution spread to other cities, and the terror became 
general. There is no doubt that the inquisitors displayed 
an excess of zeal, of which various papal documents them 
selves furnish ample proof. A great many were put to death, 
especially while Juan de Torquemada was at the head of the 
institution, 1485 to 1494. Some charge his inquisitorial 
reign with the death of 8000 persons, but more dispassionate 
estimates reduce the figures greatly, calculating the number 
to be 2000 for the reign of Isabella, ending in 1504. Very 
many more were either burned in effigy or put in prison, 
while confiscation of goods was one of the usual concomitants 
of a sentence involving loss of life or liberty. Books were 
also examined and burned or their publication or circulation 
forbidden, and in every way efforts were made to prevent 
heresy as well as to stamp it out. By far the greatest num 
ber of sufferers were the Judaizantes, or those Marranos 
who practised the Jewish faith in secret. It must be said 
that public opinion was not by any means on the side of the 
Inquisition ; in course of time it became universally hated, 
as also feared, for nobody was entirely safe from accusation 
before the dread tribunal. 

The Inquisition had existed in the kingdom of Aragon The In- 
since the thirteenth century, but Ferdinand now introduced quisition 
the Castilian body. In 1485 the Inquisition became a single ** Ara ^ OIL 
institution for all Spain, although it was not until 1518 that 
this became definitive. The new organization had not been 
welcomed in Castile, but it found even less favor in Aragon, 
not only because of its excessive pretensions and rigors, but 
also because it superseded the traditional Aragonese In 
quisition, was in the hands of Castilian "foreigners," and 
interfered with business. The city of Barcelona was es 
pecially resentful on this last account, because its prosperity 
depended not a little on the trade in the hands of Jewish 
converts, whom fear was driving away. On the first occa- 



Reform of 




sion of their appearance, in 14S6, the inquisitors were obliged 
to leave Barcelona, and no less a personage than the bishop 
joined in the act of ejecting them, but in 1487 they returned 
to stay. The fear of the Inquisition and certain social and 
political disadvantages of being regarded as of Jewish or 
Moslem descent occasioned the introduction of documents 
of limpieza de sangre (purity of blood), attesting the Catholic 
ancestry of the possessors, although the development of this 
custom was more marked in the reign of Charles I. 

One of the most signal reforms of the period, to which the 
pious Isabella, aided by Ximenez, gave her attention, was 
the purification of the Castilian clergy. The church, like 
the great nobles, had suffered from the revocation of land 
grants it had gained in times of stress, and was obliged, 
furthermore, to restore the financial rights, such as the 
alcabala and certain rents, it had usurped from the crown. 
Nevertheless, its wealth was enormous. The rents of the 
secular church in all Spain are said to have amounted to 
some 4,000,000 ducats ($60,000,000), of which the arch 
bishop of Toledo alone received 80,000 ($1,200,000). The 
regular clergy were equally wealthy. Vast as these sums 
appear, even today, their real value should be considered 
from the standpoint of the far greater purchasing power of 
money in that age than now. Whether or not the members 
of the clergy were softened by this wealth and by the favors 
they received as representatives of the church at a time of 
great religious zeal on the part of the Spanish people, it is 
certain that ignorance and immorality were prevalent 
among them. Despite the centuries of conflict against 
it, the institution of barragania still had its followers, among 
others, Alfonso de Aragon, archbishop of Saragossa, and 
Cardinal Pedro de Mendoza. Laws were passed imposing 
fines, banishment, and the lash, without avail. Church 
councils met to discuss the various evils within the church. 
Ximenez at length applied to the church of Castile the 
methods Isabella had used in suppressing seigniorial anarchy. 
A Franciscan himself, he proceeded to visit the convents of 
the order and to administer correction with a heavy hand, 
expelling the more recalcitrant. It is said that some four 

SOCIAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 217 

hundred friars emigrated to Africa, and became Moham 
medans, rather than submit to his rulings. From the 
Franciscan order the reforms passed on to others. Isabella 
intervened more particularly in the case of the secular 
clergy, exercising great care in the choice of candidates for 
the higher dignities, selecting them from the lower nobility 
or the middle class instead of from the families of great nobles 
as had formerly been the practice. At the same time, she 
took steps with considerable success to prevent the appoint 
ment of foreigners by the popes to Castilian benefices. In 
Aragon the same evils existed as in Castile, but the reforms 
did not come at this time to modify them. 

In private law, especially as regards the family, the long Triumph 
struggle of the Roman principles to gain a predominant f Roman 
place in Castilian jurisprudence ended in triumph. The principles 
victory came with the legislation of the Cortes of Toledo in tniST" 
1502, but as it was not published until the time of the Cortes private 
of Toro in 1505 it became known as the Leyes de Toro (Laws law. 
of Toro). For example, the complete emancipation of chil 
dren after marriage, the prohibition of the gift of all one s 
possessions to other than the heirs, the increase in the for 
malities required in the case of wills, and the lengthening of 
terms of years on which to base claims by prescription were 
all recognized in the new laws. 

In immorality and luxury the reign of the Catholic Kings General 
differed little from the preceding era; abundant evidence social 
thereof appears in the literary works of this period and the cust o ms - 
opening years of the next. The most extravagant taste Dress, 
was exhibited both by men and women in matters of dress. 
Clothing was made up of ruffs and puffs, ribbons and rings, 
many-materialed and many-colored component parts, clothes 
which dragged behind and clothes which were immodestly 
short, open-work waists and cloaks which were not infre 
quently used to cover adventures, fancy laces, daggers, 
purses, pouches, and a host of other accessories which must 
have been considered ornamental, since they were only slightly 
useful. Isabella herself, serious-minded and religious though 
she was, liked to appear in public richly gowned and be 
jewelled. This lavish magnificence seems only to have been 


on display for gala occasions ; at other times Spaniards lived 
and dressed soberly and modestly. As an Italian traveller 
expressed it, the Spaniard was prodigal on holidays, and 
lived sadly the rest of the year, for his occasional extrava 
gances demanded more protracted economies. This was 
true, even in the palace, for, numerous as were the employes 
there, the annual expenditure was the equivalent of only 
about $100,000. Other social customs, such as sports, 
including bull-fighting, did not undergo any changes sufficient 
to require comment. 



IT has already been pointed out that the union of Castile Tendency 
and Aragon under the Catholic Kings lacked a real political toward 
or institutional basis. Both monarchs signed papers ap- SP? 11 * 8 " 
plicable to the two kingdoms and exercised personal influ- u n ^er 
ence, each with the other, but although Ferdinand assisted Castile, 
his consort in Castilian affairs, Isabella was clearly regarded 
as ruler in Castile, as Ferdinand was in Aragon. The latter s 
will advised Charles I to maintain the separation of the 
kingdoms and to conduct their affairs through native officials. 
Nevertheless, the long continuance of the same royal family 
at the head of both was bound to produce a greater unity 
eventually. Castile was drawn into European politics 
through the medium of the Aragonese wars in Italy. On 
the other hand, she tended to become the centre of authority 
and influence on account of the greater extent of her terri 
tory (especially with the addition of Granada, Navarre, and 
the Americas), her greater wealth, the royal practice of re 
siding in Castile, and the more advanced social and political 
condition of Castile as the result of Isabella s reforms. 

Both sovereigns followed the policy of centralization in Master- 
their respective kingdoms. In Castile the major problem ships of 
was the reduction of the oligarchical nobility, for the middle ^ e ^^ 
classes had already been won over in great part when Isabella J^^Q?** 
ascended the throne. Her success in reducing the lawless ra ted into 
nobles has already been discussed ; it only remains to point the crown- 
out the significance of the act by which she completed this 
task, her incorporation of the masterships of the military 
orders into the crown. The principal element in the three 
great orders of Santiago, Calatrava, and Alcantara were the 




of the 
and tend 
unity in 

segundones of great noble families and members of the lesser 
nobility. Not only by their military power but also by their 
numbers and wealth these orders constituted a potential 
danger to the crown unless their action could be controlled. 
An estimate of the year 1493 showed that there were 700,000 
members and vassals in the order of Santiago, and 200,000 
and 100,000 respectively in those of Calatrava and Alcantara. 
The first-named had annual revenues of some 60,000 ducats 
(8900,000), and the two last combined, some 95,000 
($1,425,000). With the masterships in royal hands the 
probability of civil strife was greatly lessened. 

As regards the towns the Catholic Kings followed pre 
cisely the same practices which had been employed with 
such success in the previous era. It was rare, indeed, that 
they suppressed charters, but circumstances like those al 
ready recorded l enabled the corregidorez and other royal 
officers to exercise virtual control. Meanwhile, the process 
of unification was going on through the ordinances of the 
Cortes and royal decrees, fortified by the unrecorded de 
velopment of similarity in customs in Castilian municipal 
life. This was furthered by the representatives of the towns 
themselves, for royal and municipal Interests were usually 
in accord. Noteworthy extensions of royal authority ap 
peared in the subjection of local officials to the residencia 
(or trial during a number of days after the completion of a 
term of office, to determine the liability of an official for the 
wrongful acts of his administration) and in the sending of 
royal pesquisidores, or enquirers (in cases of crime), and 
veedores (inspectors), later more often called visitadores 
(visitors), to investigate matters of government, such as 
the accounts of financial agents and the conduct of public 
officers. These institutions were later transferred to the 
Americas, becoming an important means of sustaining the 
authority of the mother country. In some instances the 
Catholic Kings resorted to force to reduce municipalities 
which were too autonomous in character, notably in the case 
of the hermandad of the north coast towns, whose decadence 
dates from this reign. 

* See p. 159. 


The royalist ideal was manifested strikingly in the rela- Decline of 
tions of the Catholic Kings with the Castilian Cortes. From the Castil- 
1475 to 1503 the Cortes was summoned but nine times, and lan Cortes. 
during the years 1482 to 1498, at a time when Granada was 
being conquered, America discovered and occupied, the 
new Inquisition instituted, and the Jews expelled, it did not 
meet even once. Its decline was evidenced still further in 
the increasingly respectful language employed whenever it 
addressed the monarch and its growing dependence on the 
Consejo Real, which body subjected the acts of the Cortes to 
its own revision and whose president acted in a similar 
capacity for the Cortes. 

Ferdinand followed the same policy in Aragon. The Decline of 
various Cortes of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia and the tiie Ara " 
general Cortes of all three were infrequently called ; the king ?^ ese d 
acted in an arbitrary manner in his methods of raising funds, O f ^ e 
without observing the spirit of the laws. It was in his deal- power of 
ings with Barcelona that he most clearly manifested the Barce- 
royalist tendency, for that city was the most powerful ele- * ona - 
ment in the kingdom. Through his intervention the practice 
of electing the five concelleres, or councillors, was suspended 
in favor of royal appointment, and the Consell, or council 
of a hundred, was altered so that it was no longer democratic 
but represented the will of the monarch. The fact that these 
changes were made without provoking resistance and almost 
without protest shows how utterly dead were the political 
ideals of the past. 

The concentration in royal hands of so many powers The new 
which were formerly exercised by the lords and towns made bureau- 
necessary the development of a numerous and varied official- cra y* 
dom to assist the monarch. As the basis of the new bureau 
cracy in Castile the Catholic Kings had at hand the Consejo 
Real, which with some changes was admirably adapted to 
the purpose. The first step was to rid it of the great nobles. 
In 1480 the untitled letrados became a majority in this body. 
The counts, dukes, and marquises were still allowed to 
attend, but were deprived of the right to vote. Shortly 
afterward they were excluded altogether, and the Consejo 
Reed now responded without question to the will of the king. 


It served as the head of the various branches of the bureau 
cratic organization, with the final decision, subject to the 
wishes of the king, in all matters of government. Pressure 
of work led to the formation of three additional councils, 
those of the Inquisition (Inqui$ici6ri) , the military orders, 
(Or denes Militares), and the Americas, or Indies (Indias), 
while there were still others in the kingdom of Aragon. 
Particularly important among the other officials was the 
monarch s private secretary, who came to have a very 
nearly decisive influence, owing to the favor he enjoyed with 
the head of the state. A horde of other officers, old and 
new, made up the ranks of the bureaucracy. Among the 
older group it is to be noted that the adelantados were sup 
planted by alcaldes mayores, until only one of the former 
was left. Among newer officials the important inquisitors 
and veedores, or visitadores, should be noted. 

Adminis- A similar development to that of the executive branch 
trationof was experienced in the administration of justice. The 
justice. fountain-head was the chancillerfa at the capital, Valladolid, 
to which were subordinate in a measure the several regional 
audiencicis, which were now established for the first time, 
besides the hierarchy of the judiciary of lower grades. In 
addition to unifying and regulating the judicial system 
the Catholic Kings gave attention to the internal purifica 
tion of the courts, with a view to eliminating the unfit or 
undesirable and to checking abuses. The corrupt practices 
of those outside the courts were also attacked, especially 
powerful persons who attempted to overawe judges or pro 
cure a miscarriage of justice. One of the principal difficulties 
encountered was that of conflicts of jurisdiction, notably in 
the case of the church courts. Good Catholic thouglTshe 
was, Isabella was determined in her opposition to ecclesias 
tical invasions of royal jurisdiction, but despite her energetic 
measures the issue was far from being decided in her day. 
In line with the royal policy of settling disputes by law 
rather^ than by force the use of firearms was prohibited, 
gambling was _ persecuted, and the riepto (or judicial duel, 
the last survival of medieval procedure) was abolished. 
Good order in the present-day sense was far from existing, 



and this led to a revival of the medieval idea of the her- 
mandades for the punishment of crimes committed in un 
inhabited places or small villages as well as for the pursuit 
and execution generally of those guilty of felony. The 
Santa Hermandad, with its capital at Toledo, was created 
as a kind of judicial body, sustained by the groups of citizens 
who formed part of it, employing a militia of mounted men, 
and making use of summary methods and extreme penalties 
in its procedure. Its life as an effective body was brief, 
although it continued to exist for many years. On the other 
hand the medieval hermandad of Toledo enjoyed a revival 
of life and usefulness. 1 

It is hardly necessary to trace the administrative and Reforms 
judicial reforms of Ferdinand in Aragon. Suffice to say that *- Aragon. 
they followed the Castilian pattern much more closely, 
indeed, than in the matter of social organization. 

The Castilian Inquisition, first created in 1478 for specific Procedure 
and temporary objects, underwent considerable modification f the 
when retained as a permanent body to combat heresy in 
general. The popes refused to allow it to be in all respects n * 
a royal instrument, and retained the right of appointing or 
dismissing inquisitors, permitting the kings to recommend 
candidates. The expansion of the institution from Seville 
to other cities in Spain and the creation of a supreme council 
of the Inquisition have already been mentioned. Xim6nez, 
who became head of the Inquisition of Castile in 1507, ex 
tended its operations to Africa and the Americas. The 
methods of trial were harsh, though less so if gauged by the 
standards of that time. Torture was used as a means of 
obtaining confessions. The accused was kept utterly apart 
from his family and friends, who did not learn what had 
become of him until his liberation or his appearance in an 
auto de fe. The same secrecy was employed in dealing with 
the prisoner, who was informed of the general charge against 
him, without the details and without knowing his accuser s 
name. He was allowed to indicate those in whom he lacked 
confidence, and if he should chance to hit upon an accuser 
that person s evidence was eliminated. Two witnesses 
1 Cf. p. 155, n. 3. 




against him were sufficient to outweigh any testimony he 
might give. He might have a lawyer, but could not confer 
with him in private. He might also object to a judge whose 
impartiality he had reason to suspect, and could appeal to 
the pope. Penalties varied from the imposition of a light 
penance to imprisonment or burning to death. Burning in 
effigy of those who escaped or burning of the remains of 
those who had died was also practised. The auto de fe 
represented, as the words imply, merely the decision in the 
given case, and not the imposition of the penalty as has 
often been stated. The general rule was for the executions 
to take place on holidays, which in Spain are indeed "holy 
days," or days in celebration of events in church history. 
A procession was held, in which the functionaries of the 
Inquisition took part. A public announcement of the de 
cisions was made, and those who were condemned to death 
were turned over to the civil authorities, who carried out 
the execution in the customary place. As has already been 
said, the imposition of sentences was accompanied by con 
fiscations or the levy of fines. Since the Inquisition was sup 
ported by these amercements there were numerous scandals 
in connection therewith. Certain royal orders implied, 
and complaints by men of such standing as Juan de Daza, 
bishop of Cordova, directly charged, that the Inquisition 
displayed a too great eagerness to insure its financial stand 
ing by confiscations. On one occasion it seems that the 
estate of a wealthy victim of the Inquisition was divided 
between Cardinal Carvajal, the inquisitor Lucero, the royal 
treasurer Morales, and Ferdinand s private secretary. The 
funds did not belong in law to the Inquisition. That body 
collected them and turned them over to the king, who 
granted them back again. 

The new Castilian and Aragonese states required greatly 
increased funds and a royal army, and both of these matters 
received the careful consideration of Ferdinand and Isabella. 
In financial affairs their activities were twofold : to procure 
more revenues; and to bring about greater economy in 
their collection and administration. The revocation of 
earlier land grants was one measure productive of income, 

POLITICAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 225 

since the taxes from them now went to the crown rather 
than to the lords. Two sources of revenue of a religious 
character were procured by papal grant. One of these was 
the cruzada, or sale of indulgences, based on the crusade 
(cruzada) against the Moslems. Designed for a temporary 
purpose it became an enduring element in the royal income. 
The other was the diezmo, or tithe, presumably for the same 
objects as the cruzada, although it too was diverted to other 
uses. Great attention was paid to the administration of 
the remunerative alcabala, and to stamp taxes and customs 
duties. The treasury department as a modern institution 
may be said to date from this era. In addition the Catholic 
Kings corrected abuses in the coinage of money. The final 
result is shown in the increase in the revenues from about 
900,000 redes l in 1474 to well over 26,000,000 in 1504. 
Expenses were so heavy, however, that more than once a 
resort to loans was necessary. 

The army kept pace with other institutions in the advance Modensl- 
out of medievalism into modernity. The seigniorial levies, zation 
unequal in size and subversive of discipline as well as a po- of the 
tential danger, were virtually done away with after the Grana- army * 
dine war, although such bodies appeared occasionally even 
in the next era. In their place were substituted a larger 
royal army at state expense and the principle of universal 
military service. One man in every twelve of those be 
tween twenty and forty years of age was held liable, but 
did not take the field and was not paid except when specifi 
cally called. The glory of the new professional army 
attracted many who had formerly served the great lords, 
including a number of the nobility and the adventurous 

1 The real was a former Spanish coin of elusive value. Prior 
to the jreign of Ferdinand and Isabella it was worth slightly more 
than ninety maravedis and after that reign slightly less than eighty- 
nine. Today the real of copper (a theoretical coin) is worth thirty- 
four maravedis and the real of silver sixty-eight. As the maravedi 
(which is no longer coined) was worth about a sixth of a cent in 
present-day United States money, it will be seen that the real has 
ranged from about fifteen to five cents in value. These amounts 
do not, of course, represent the actual value, or purchasing power, of 
the real. That cannot be determined, but it was certainly many 
times greater than it would be today. 



The royal 

nance of 
and other 
tions of 
the laws. 

element. Under the leadership of Gonzalo de Ayora and 
especially of the "great captain," Gonzalo de Cordoba, 
noteworthy reforms in tactics were made. The army was 
now an aggregation of equal groups, based on battalions 
and companies, while the larger divisions were assigned a 
proportionate number of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. 
From this period date many current military titles : colonel, 
captain, and others. Arms and equipment were much im 
proved and military administration bettered. The im 
portance of firearms was just becoming recognized ; cannon, 
firing balls of stone, played a prominent part in the 
war with Granada. A similar if less pronounced develop 
ment appeared in the navy. The admiral of Castile, who 
had enjoyed a semi-independent sinecure, now lost much of 
his authority, for many of his powers were taken over by 
the crown. 

The reforms which have been chronicled were the result 
of a great body of legislation, most of which emanated di 
rectly from the crown, although some important laws were 
enacted in conjunction with the Cortes. Taken with the 
variety of legislation in preceding years it caused not a little 
confusion as to the precise principle governing a specific 
case. This led to the compilation by Alfonso Diaz de 
Montalvo of the Ordenanzas Redes de Castillo, (1484?), 
or Royal Ordinances of Castile, commonly called the Ordi 
nance (Ordenamiento) of Doctor Montalvo, in whicK were 
set forth various ordinances of the Cortes since that of Alcald 
in 1348 and certain orders of the kings from the time of 
Alfonso X, together with some provisions of earlier date. 
In all, 1163 laws were included, of which 230 belonged to 
the era of the Catholic Kings. Although it is not certain, 
the Ordenanzas seems to have been promulgated as law, 
and in any event was very influential, running through 
thirteen editions down to the year 1513. The compilation 
was far from meeting the full requirement of the times, how 
ever. Besides being incomplete, as was only to be expected, 
it contained various inaccuracies of form and substance. 
Furthermore, with such varying elements still in effect as 
the Partidas and the medieval fueros, besides the unwritten 

POLITICAL REFORMS, 1479-1517 227 

transformation and unification which had been going on 
for two centuries (as a result of royalist policies), there was 
need for a clear and methodical revision of Castilian legis 
lation. Various other publications covering special phases 
of the laws, such as the Ordenanzas de Alcabalas (1491), 
or Ordinances of the Alcabala, the already mentioned Leyes 
de Toro (1505), and the privileges of the Mesta (1511), date 
from this era, while there was a similar tendency toward 
legislative publication in the Catalonian and Valencian 
parts of the kingdom of Aragon. 

Although the piety of Ferdinand and Isabella earned them Relations 
the sobriquet of the "Catholic Kings/ particularly merited of church 
in the case of Isabella, they did not let their regard for the and state * 
church interfere with their conceptions of the royal authority. 
Something has already been said about their resistance to 
the intrusions of ecclesiastical courts and their objection to 
appointments of foreigners to Spanish benefices. The same 
conflict with the pope was maintained with regard to papal 
appointments of Spaniards. In the case of Granada and 
the Americas the crown gained the patronato real, or royal 
patronage, in such degree that the monarch became the vir 
tual administrative head of the church, but the concession 
for the rest of Spain was not so complete. Nevertheless, 
the royal nominees were usually appointed. The Catholic 
Kings displayed great consideration for the church when 
the interests of the latter did not run counter to the monar 
chical ideal, and in Castile the confessors of the queen 
obtained a certain ascendency which made them among the 
most powerful individuals in the state. They proved to 
be well deserving of their influence, however, notably car 
dinals Mendoza, Talavera, and Ximenez, of whom the last- 
named was, after the Catholic Kings, by far the most im 
portant figure of the times. 



of the 


THE Catholic Kings attacked the economic problems of 
their era with much the same zeal they had displayed in 
social and political reforms, but without equal success, for 
medievalism in material affairs was more persistent than in 
social, political, and intellectual institutions. The same 
false economic ideas of the past were still operative. Es 
pecially was this manifest in the belief that legislation and 
state intervention in business provided a panacea for all 
evils, when the real needs were the development of the wealth 
at hand and the modification of geographical conditions in 
such a way as to permit of additional productivity. Pro 
tection and excessive regulation were the keynote of the laws. 
As a result manufactures were stimulated on the one hand, 
and various cities of the two kingdoms became notable in 
dustrial centres, but on the other hand, these same indus 
tries were hindered by inspections, by laws regulating the 
fashion and style of goods and fixing prices, wages, and the 
hours of labor, and by a host of other measures which killed 
initiative and hindered rapidity of work. In part to pro 
mote this artificial industrial life, so that raw wool might be 
readily procured, the Catholic Kings recognized and even 
extended the privileges of the great corporation of the Mesta. 
Starting from La Mancha and Extremadura in April, flocks 
of sheep annually ravaged Castile, returning in September 
to the place whence they had come. The Canada real, or 
royal sheepwalk, was set aside for their exclusive use, and a 
prohibition was placed on clearing, working, or enclosing 
any part of that strip. In fact the sheepmen ventured be 
yond the legal limits, and although required by law to pay 



damages in such cases were so powerful that they rarely did 
so. Withal, the stimulus to manufacturing was almost 
purely artificial, and the Spanish cities, even Barcelona, 
found competition with foreign cloths and other goods too 
keen. In the main, Spain continued to be a raw material 
land, exporting primary articles to foreign countries, in re 
turn for manufactures. 

Attempts were made to encourage agriculture, but the Lack of 
spirit of legislative interference and the superior importance progress 
accorded the grazing industry were not conducive to prog- ^^J 
ress. The menace of the Mesta was responsible for the 
almost complete destruction of forestry and agriculture in 
many regions which were suitable to development in those 
respects, while the irrigation ditches of Andalusia and other 
former Moslem lands were too often allowed to decay. 

The same royal solicitude appeared, to assist and to retard Vicissi- 
commerce. Interior customs lines were to some extent done tudes of 
away with, notably on the frontier of Castile and Aragon oonimerce 
proper. Shipbuilding was encouraged, but favors were 
shown to owners of large ships, wherefore the smaller ship 
traffic was damaged, at the same time that the larger boats 
were too big for the needs of the trade. A flourishing foreign 
commerce developed, nevertheless, but it was in the hands 
of the Jews and, after their expulsion, of foreigners of Italian, 
Germanic, and French extraction. Many laws were passed 
subjecting foreigners to annoyances, lest they export precious 
metal or in other ways act contrary to the economic interests 
of the peninsula as they were then understood. It was in 
this period that the commerce of the Mediterranean cities 
of the kingdom of Aragon sank into a hopeless decline. Other 
factors than those of the false economic principles of the day 
were primarily responsible, such as the conquests of the 
Turks, which ended the eastern Mediterranean trade, and 
the Portuguese discovery of the sea-route to India, along 
with the Castilian voyages to America, which made the At 
lantic Ocean the chief centre of sea-going traffic and closed 
the era of Mediterranean supremacy. 

Nevertheless, the net result of the period was a marked Advance 
advance in material wealth, in part, perhaps, because the ^ wealth. 



of intel 
and the 
of Hu- 

false economic ideas of the Catholic Kings were shared by 
them with the other rulers of Europe, wherefore they did not 
prove so great a handicap to Spain, and, in part, because some 
of their measures were well calculated to prove beneficial. 
At this time, too, the wealth of the Americas began to pour 
in, although the future was to hold far more in store. 

Brief as was the span of years embraced by the reign of 
the Catholic Kings it was as notable a period in intellectual 
progress as in other respects, bringing Spain into the current 
of modern life. This was due primarily to the rapid exten 
sion of printing, which had appeared in the peninsula in the 
closing years of the preceding period, and which now came 
into such general use that the works of Spanish and classical 
writers became available to all. Through private initiative 
many schools were founded which later became universities, 
although this activity was limited to Castile. Most notable 
of these institutions was that of Alcala founded by Ximenez. 
This undertaking was due to the great cardinal s desire to 
establish a Humanist centre of learning, where Latin, Greek, 
Hebrew, and philology could be studied to the best advantage. 
The most learned Spanish Humanists assembled there, to 
gether with many foreigners, and works of note were pro 
duced, such as the famous polyglot Bible in Hebrew, Greek, 
Chaldean, and Latin, with accompanying grammars and 
vocabularies. Not a little of the advancement in intellec 
tual manifestations was due to the encouragement of the 
Catholic Kings, especially Isabella. Books coming into 
Spain were exempted from duty; ordinances were made 
regulating university life, and ridding it of much of its tur 
bulence and abuses ; and the court set an example in showing 
favor to distinguished scholars, who were engaged as teachers 
of the royal children. The great nobles imitated royalty, 
and invited foreign savants to Spain, among whom was the 
Italian, Peter Martyr of Anghiera, celebrated as the author 
of the first history of the Americas, the De orbe now (Con 
cerning the new world). The most marked impulse to the 
spread of Humanist ideals came through Spaniards studying 
abroad, and these men returned to give Spain her leading 
names in intellectual production for the period. The great- 


est of them was Antonio de Xebrija, educated in Italy, a 
man of such encyclopedic attainments that he left works 
on theology, law, archaeology, history, natural science, geog 
raphy, and geodesy, although particularly noteworthy as a 
Latin scholar. Cardinal Xim6nez is deserving of a high 
place in the achievements of the era for his patronage of 
letters, for it was through his aid that some of the most val 
uable work of the period was accomplished. Education was 
a matter for the higher classes only; people had not even 
begun to think, yet, of popular education. 

Although the extension of intellectual culture and the tri- Progress 
omph of Humanism were outstanding facts of the period, in the 
there were notable cultivators, too, of the sciences, moral, s^ 61 " 368 * 
social, and natural, especially the last-named. Studies in 
geography, cosmography, and cartography received a great 
impulse through the discovery of America, and many scien 
tific works along these lines were due to the scholars con 
nected with the Casa de Contrcdacitin (House of Trade), or 
India House. Medical works were even more prominent, 
not a few of them on the subject of venereal disease. A 
number of these works were mutilated or condemned alto 
gether by the Inquisition, in part because of their doctrines, 
but also because of the anatomical details which they con 
tained, for they were considered immoral. 

In polite literature the leading characteristics were the Polite 
complete victory of the Italian influence, the predominance literature. 
of Castilian, the popularity of the romances, and the begin 
ning of the Cast&ian theatre. The Italian influence mani 
fested itself both in the translation of Classical and Italian 
Renaissance works and in an imitation of their models and 
forms. Castilian was employed, not only in Castile and 
Aragon proper, but even in the literary works of Portuguese, 
Catalans, Valencians, and not a few individuals (Spaniards 
in the main) at the court of Naples, although Catalan and 
Valencian poetry still had a vogue. The poetry of the era 
often exhibited tendencies of a medieval character, for 
example, in its use of allegory. It is curious to note also 
the prevalence of two somewhat opposed types of subject- 
matter, religious and erotic ; in the latter there was a vigor- 






ous school which often went to the extreme of license. The 
romances of love and chivalry gained even greater favor than 
in the preceding period. The Amadis de Gaula (Amadis 
of Gaul) of Vasco de Lobeira was translated from the Portu 
guese by Garci Ordonez de Mental vo, and many other novels 
on the same model were written. One of these was Las 
sergas de Esplandidn (The deeds of Esplandian) by Ordonez 
de Montalvo himself, references in which to an " island Cali 
fornia" as a land of fabulous wealth were to result in the 
naming of the present-day California, once believed to be 
just such an island. Much superior to the amatory or chiv- 
alric novels was a remarkable book which stood alone in its 
time, the Tragicomedia de Calixto y Melibea (The tragi-com- 
edy of Calixtus and Melibea), better known as La Celestina 
(1499), from the name of one of the characters, believed to 
have been the work of Fernando de Rojas. In eloquent 
Spanish and with intense realism La Celestina dealt with 
people in what might be called "the under-world." This 
was the first of the picaresque novels (so-called because they 
dealt with the life of picaros, or rogues), out of which w r as to 
develop the true Spanish novel. History, too, had a notable 
growth. The outstanding name was that of Hernando del 
Pulgar. His Crdnica (Chronicle) and his Claros varones de 
Espana (Illustrious men of Spain), besides being well 
written,. note worthy for their characterizations of individuals, 
and influenced by classical Latin authors, showed a distinct 
historical sense. The already mentioned De orbe now of 
Peter Martyr and the letters of Columbus were the chief 
contributions to the history of the new world. As to the 
theatre, while the religious mysteries continued to be played, 
popular representations in dialogue, some of them religious 
and others profane in subject-matter, began to be written 
and staged. The most notable writer was Juan del Enzina 
(1468-1534), who has been called the "father of Spanish 
comedy." His compositions were not represented publicly 
in a theatre, but only hi private houses or on the occasions 
of royal or aristocratic feasts. 

The transitional character of the age was nowiere more 
clear than in the various forms of art. The principal archi- 


tectural style was a combination of late Gothic with early Plate- 
Renaissance features, which, because of its exuberantly deco- resque 
rative character, was called plateresque, for many of its forms f^^teO" 1 
resembled the work of plateros, or makers of plate. Struc 
turally there was a mingling of the two above-named ele 
ments, with a superimposition of adornment marked by 
great profusion and richness, such, for example, as in the 
facade of the convent of San Pablo of Valladolid. At the 
same time, edifices were still built which were more properly 
to be called Gothic, and there were yet others predominantly 
representative of the Renaissance, characterized by the res 
toration of the later classical structural and decorative ele 
ments, such as the slightly pointed arch, intersecting vaults, 
columns, entablatures, pediments, and lavish ornamentation. 
Sculpture displayed the same manifestations, and became Sculpture 
in a measure independent of architecture. Noteworthy an<i tte 
survivals are the richly carved sepulchres of the era. Gold lesser 
and silver work had an extraordinary development not only 
in articles of luxury but also in those for popular use, and as 
regards luxury the same was true of work in rich embroideries 
and textures. 

The contest between the Flemish and Italian influences on Advance 
Spanish painting resolved itself decidedly in favor of the j n paint- 
latter, although a certain eclecticism, the germ of a national mg " 
school, made itself apparent in the works of Spanish artists. 
Characteristics of a medieval type still persisted, such as 
faulty drawing, color lacking in energy and richness, a sad 
and sober ambient, and a disregard for everything in a paint 
ing except the human figures. Like sculpture, painting be 
gan to be dissociated from architecture, and was encouraged 
by the purchases of the wealthy. It was not yet the custom 
to hang paintings on the walls ; they were kept in chests or 
otherwise under lock and key except when brought out for 
temporary display. Music, employed principally in song as Music, 
the accompaniment of verse, enjoyed a favor comparable 
with that of the plastic arts. 


CHAHLES I OF SPAIN", 1516-1556 

Historical FROM the standpoint of European history the period of the 
setting of House of Hapsburg, or Austria, covering nearly two centuries, 
the House w ^ en Spain was one of the great powers of the world, should 
of Austria, be replete with the details of Spanish intervention in Euro 
pean affairs. The purposes of the present work will be 
served, however, by a comparatively brief treatment of this 
phase of Spanish history ; indeed, the central idea underlying 
it reduces itself to this: Spain wasted her energies and 
expended her wealth in a fruitless attempt, first to become 
the dominant power in Europe, and later to maintain pos 
sessions in Italy and the Low Countries which were produc 
tive only of trouble ; what she took from the Americas with 
the one hand, she squandered in Europe with the other. 
Internally there were changes which were to react on the 
Spanish colonial dominions, wherefore a correspondingly 
greater space must be accorded peninsula history than di 
rectly to the wars in Europe. The greatest feature of the 
period was the conquest of the Americas, accomplished in 
part by the spectacular expeditions of the conquistador es, or 
conquerors, and in part by the slower advance of the Spanish 
settlers, pushing onward the frontier of profits. Not only 
was this the most notable achievement when considered 
from the American angle, but it was, also, when taken from 
the standpoint of Spain, and possibly, too, from that of 
Europe and the world. 

The Italian venture of the Aragonese kings had yielded 
probably more of advantage than of harm down to the time 
of Ferdinand, and it may be that even he did not overstep 
the bounds of prudence in his ambitious designs. When his 


CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-1556 235 

policies were continued, however, in the person of Charles I, Vast em- 
better known by his imperial title as the Emperor Charles P^e of 
V, the results were to prove more disastrous to Spam than ^ g ^ 
beneficial. The circumstances were in fact different for the t ke Em-* 
two monarchs, although their aims were much the same, peror 
Some writers have supposed that Ferdinand himself recog- Charles V. 
nized the danger of a union of the Austrian, Burgundian, 
and Spanish dominions under one king, and they assert that 
he planned to make Charles younger brother, Ferdinand, 
ruler of Spain and the Two Sicilies in case the former should 
be elected emperor. In his will, however, he respected the 
principle of primogeniture, and left all to Charles, eldest son 
of Philip the Handsome and Juana la Loca. Through his 
mother and Ferdinand, Charles inherited Castile, Aragon, 
and Navarre, the Castilian dominions in Africa and America 
(where the era of great conquests was just about to begin), 
the Roussillon and Cerdagne across the Pyrenees, and Sar 
dinia, Sicily, and Naples in Italy ; through his father he had 
already become possessed of the territories of the House of 
Burgundy, comprised of Flanders and Artois in northern 
France, Franche-Comte and Charolais in the east, Luxem 
bourg, and the Low Countries. This was not all, for Charles 
was heir of the Emperor Maximilian, and in addition to in 
heriting the latter s Austrian dominions might hope to suc 
ceed to the imperial title as ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. 
To be sure, the system of electing the emperors by the elec 
toral princes still obtained, but the Germanic states of the 
empire were almost certain to prefer a powerful Hapsburg, 
with such dominions as Charles had, to any other candidate, 
if only to serve as a counterpoise to the ambitions of France. 
Nevertheless, the electors did not miss the opportunity to 
make a profit out of the situation, and encouraged the can 
didacy of Henry VIII of England and especially of Francis I 
of France as well as that of Charles, receiving bribes and 
favors from all. In the end, following the death of Maxi 
milian in 1519, they decided in favor of Charles. He was 
now ruler, at least in name, of one of the most vast empires 
in the history of the world. 
The mere possession of such extensive domains inevitably 



of his 

led to an Imperialistic policy to insure their retention. Each 
of the three principal elements therein, Spain, Burgundy, 
and the Austrian dominions, was ambitious in itself and 
especially hostile to France, and all of these aspirations and 
enmities were now combined in a single monarch. Charles 
himself was desirous not only of conquest but also of becom 
ing the most powerful prince in the world, thus assuring the 
Hapsburg supremacy in Europe, and making himself the 
arbiter in European political affairs and the protector of 
Christianity ; he may even have dreamed of a world mon 
archy, for if he did not aspire to such a state for himself he 
believed its attainment possible of realization. In the 
achievement of a less vast ideal, however, Charles was cer 
tain to experience many difficulties, and at some point or 
other was bound to encounter the hostility not only of France 
but also of the other states of Europe. If this were not 
enough there came along the unforeseen dilemma of the Ref 
ormation. Finally, his own dominions were none too strongly 
held together, one with another or within themselves. They 
were widely separated, some indeed entirely surrounded by 
French territory, leading to a multiplicity of problems of a 
military and a political nature. The imperial rank carried 
little real authority in Germany, and the Burgundian realms 
were not a great source of power. It appears, therefore, 
that the empire was more a matter of show than of strength, 
and that Spain, who already had a surfeit of responsibility, 
what with her conquests in Italy, Africa, and the Americas, 
must bear the burden for all. The reign of Charles would 
seem to be the parting of the ways for Spain. If she could 
have restricted herself to her purely Spanish inheritance, 
even with the incubus of her Italian possessions, she might 
have prolonged her existence as a great power indefinitely. 
A century ahead of England in colonial enterprise, she had 
such an opportunity as that which made the island of Britain 
one of the dominant factors in the world. Even as matters 
were, Spain was able to stand forth as a first rank nation for 
well over a century. Whatever might have happened if a 
different policy had been followed, it hardly admits of doubt 
that Spain s intervention in European affairs involved too 

CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-1556 237 

great a strain on her resources, and proved a detriment 
politically and economically to the peninsula. 

Charles had been brought up in Flanders, and, it is said, Dissatis- 
was unable to speak Spanish when he first entered the faction 
peninsula as king of Spain. His official reign began in 1316, veT . 
but it was not until his arrival in the following year that the f^rites 
full effect of his measures began to be felt. Even before and in- 
that time there was some inkling of what was to come in creased 
the appointments of foreigners, mostly Flemings, to politi- taxation, 
cal or ecclesiastical office in Castile. At length Charles 
reached Spain, surrounded by Flemish courtiers, who pro 
ceeded to supplant Spaniards not only in the favor but also 
in the patronage of the king. The new officials, more eager 
for personal profit than patriotic, began to sell privileges and 
the posts of lower grade to the highest bidders. Such prac 
tices could not fail to wound the feelings of Spaniards, be 
sides which they contravened the laws, and many protests 
by individuals and towns were made, to which was joined 
the complaint of the Cortes of Valladolid in 1518. To make 
matters worse Chivres, the favorite minister of the king, 
caused taxes to be raised. The amount of the akabala was 
increased, and the tax was made applicable to the hitherto 
privileged nobility, much against their will. In like manner 
the opposition of the clergy was roused through a bull pro 
cured from the pope requiring ecclesiastical estates to pay 
a tenth of their income to the king during a period of three 
years. Furthermore it was commonly believed, no doubt 
with justice, that the Flemish office-holders were sending 
gold and other precious metals out of the country, despite 
the laws forbidding such export. Nevertheless the Cortes 
of 1518 granted a generous subsidy to the king, but this^was 
followed by new increases in royal taxation. Opposition 
to these practices now began to crystallize, with the nobles of 
Toledo taking the lead in remonstrance against them. 

The situation in Castile was complicated by the question Charles 
of the imperial election. Between the death of Maximilian manipula- 
in January, 1519, and the election of Charles in June of the jjjf ^ 
same year it was necessary to pay huge bribes to the elec- Galicia. 
toral princes. Once chosen, Charles accepted the imperial 


honor, and prepared to go to Germany to be crowned, an 
event which called for yet more expenditures of a substantial 
nature. So, notwithstanding the grant of 1518, it was de 
cided to call the Cortes early in 1520 with a view to a fresh 
subsidy. Since all Castile was in a state of tumult it was 
deemed best that the meeting should take place at some point 
whence an escape from the country would be easy in case of 
need. Thus Santiago de Compostela in Galicia was selected, 
and it was there that the Cortes eventually met, moving to 
the neighboring port of Coruna after the first few days 
sessions. The call for the Cortes provoked a storm of protest 
not only by Toledo but also by many other cities with which 
the first-named was in correspondence. Messengers were 
sent to the king to beg of him not to leave Spain, or, if he 
must do so, to place Spaniards in control of the affairs of 
state, and complaints were made against the practices already 
recounted and numerous others, such, for example, as the 
royal use of the title " Majesty," an unwonted term in Spain. 
From the first, Charles turned a deaf ear, refusing to receive 
the messengers of the towns, or reproving them when he did 
give them audience, and he even went so far as to order the 
arrest of the Toledan leaders. The Cortes at length met, 
and gave evidence of the widespread discontent in its de 
mands upon the king. In accordance with their instructions 
most of the deputies were disinclined to take up the matter 
of a supply for the king until he should accede to their peti 
tions. Under the royal eye, however, they gradually modi 
fied their demands, and when Charles took it upon^himself 
to absolve them from the pledges they had given to their 
constituents they voted the subsidy without obtaining any 
tangible^ redress of grievances. The king did promise not 
to appoint any foreigners to Spanish benefices or political 
holdings during his absence, but broke his word forthwith 
when he named Cardinal Adrian, a foreigner, as his repre 
sentative and governor during his absence. This done, 
Charles set out in the same year, 1520, for Germany. 

Meanwhile, a riot in Toledo, promoted by the nobles whom 
Charles had ordered arrested, converted itself into a veritable 
revolt when the royal corregidor was expelled from the city. 

CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-1556 239 

This action was stated to have been taken in the name of War of 
the Comunidad, or community, of Toledo, and served to t 
give a name to the uprising which now took place in all parts 
of Castile. Deputies to the Cortes who had been faithless m 
to their trust, some of whom had accepted bribes from the 
king, were roughly handled upon their return home, and 
city after city joined Toledo in proclaiming the Comunidad. 
In July, 1520, delegates of^ the rebellious communities met, 
and formed the Junta of Avila, which from that town and 
later from Tordesillas and Valladolid served as the executive 
body of the revolution. For a time the Junta was practically 
the ruling body in the state ; so complete was the overturn 
of royal authority that Cardinal Adrian and his advisers 
made no attempt to put down the rebellion. Time worked 
to the advantage of the king, however. The revolt of Toledo 
had begun as a protest of the nobles and clergy against the 
imposition of taxes against them. The program of the Junta 
of Avila went much further than that, going into the ques 
tion of the grievances of the various social classes. At length 
many of the comuneros began to indulge in acts of violence 
and revenge against those by whom they regarded themselves 
as having been oppressed, and the movement changed from 
one of all the classes, including the nobles, against the royal 
infractions of law and privileges, to one of the popular ele 
ment against the lords. Thus the middle classes, who ob 
jected to the disorder of the times as harmful to business, 
and the nobles, in self-defence, began to take sides with the 
king. City after city went over to Charles, and late in 1520 
the government was strong enough to declare war on the com 
munities still faithful to the Junta. Dissension, treason, 
and incompetent leadership furthered the decline of the 
popular cause, and in 1521 the revolt was crushed at the 
battle of Villalar. Charles promised a general pardon, 
but when he came to Spain in 1522 he caused a great 
many to be put to death. Not until 1526 did he show a 
disposition to clemency. Moreover he retained his Flemish 

During the period of the revolt of the Comunidades in 
Castile even more bitter civil wars were going on in Valencia 



wars in 

in Ger 
many and 
war with 

(1520-1522) and Majorca (1521-1523). The contest in 
Valencia was a social conflict from the start, of plebeians 
against the lords, whereas the Castilian conflict was funda 
mentally political. In Majorca the strife began over pres 
sure for financial reforms, but developed into an attempt to 
eliminate the nobility altogether. Both uprisings were in 
dependent of the Castilian revolt, although serving to aid 
the latter through the necessary diversion of troops. As in 
Castile, so in Valencia and Majorca, Charles took sides 
against the popular element, and put down the insurrections, 
displaying great severity toward the leaders. 

While the civil wars were at their height Charles was 
having more than his share of trouble in other quarters. The 
princes of Germany compelled him to sign a document 
affirming their privileges, in which appeared many para 
graphs similar to those of the Castilian petitions to the king, 
together with one requiring Charles to maintain the empire 
independently of the Spanish crown. The acceptance of 
these principles by the emperor is an evidence of the weak 
ness of his authority in the subject states of Germany, for 
not only was he a believer in the divine origin of the imperial 
dignity, a doctrine which would have impelled him to estab 
lish his personal and absolute rule in all of his realms if pos 
sible, but he seems also to have intended to make Spain the 
political centre of his dominions, because she was, after all, 
his strongest element of support. At the same time, a fresh 
difficulty appeared in Germany with the Lutheran outbreak 
of 1521. Charles himself favored reform in the church, but 
was opposed to any change in dogma. Before he could con 
front either the political or the religious problem in Germany, 
he found himself attacked on another quarter. Francis I 
of France had seized upon Charles difficulties as affording 
him a rich opportunity to strike to advantage; so in 1521 
he twice sent French armies into Spain through the western 
Pyrenees on the pretext of restoring the crown of Navarre 
to the Labrit family. With all these questions pressing for 
solution Charles was in an exceedingly unsatisfactory posi 
tion. Thus early in the period lack of funds to prosecute 
European policies was chronic. Spain herself, even if there 

CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-155G 241 

had been no civil wars, was not united internally like the 
compact French nation, and the other Hapsburg dominions 
could give but little help. Finally, Charles could not depend 
on the alliance of any other power, for his own realms were 
neighbors of all the others, and his designs were therefore 
generally suspected. Nevertheless, Charles brought to his 
many tasks an indomitable will, marked energy, a steadfast 
purpose, and an all-round ability which were to do much 
toward overcoming the obstacles that hindered him. 

It is profitless, here, to relate the course of the wars with Wars with 
France and other European states. In the years 1521 to France, 
1529, 1536 to 1538, and 1542 to 1544, France and Spain were ^ P^?^ 
at war, and at other times, down to the death of Francis I states an( j 
in 1547, the two countries enjoyed what was virtually no German 
more than a truce. Meanwhile, Charles was usually in con- princes, 
flict with the popes, whose temporal dominions in central 
Italy were threatened by the growing power of Spain and the 
empire in the Italian peninsula. Other states in Italy fought 
now on Charles side, now against him, while the princes 
of Germany were an equally variable quantity. England 
favored each side in turn, but offered little effective aid to 
either. As affecting the history of religion these wars gave 
Protestantism a chance to develop. Neither Charles nor 
Francis disdained the aid of Protestant princes, and the for 
mer had little opportunity to proceed against them on reli 
gious grounds. Francis even allied himself with the Moslem 
power of Turkey. On the whole, Charles was the victor in The out- 
the wars, and could point to the occupation of Milan as a come, 
tangible evidence of his success, about the only territorial 
change of consequence as a result of the many campaigns. 
Perhaps the most noteworthy fact as affecting the history of 
Spain and Spanish America was the financial drain occasioned 
by the fighting. Time and again lack of funds was mainly 
responsible for defeats or failures to follow up a victory. 
Spain and the Americas had to meet the bills, but, liberal as 
were their contributions, more were always needed. 

The wars with Turkey had a special significance because 
of the ever impending peril from Moslem northern Africa. 
The pirates of the Berber, or Barbary, Coast, as the lands in 



v^ars with. 

the Turks 

and the 





failure to 
stamp out 

northwestern Africa are often called, seemed to be more 
than ever audacious in the early years of the reign of Charles. 
Not only did they attack Spanish ships and even Spanish 
ports, but they also made numerous incursions inland in 
the peninsula. Aside from the loss in captives and hi eco 
nomic wealth that these visitations represented, they served 
to remind the authorities of the Moslem sympathies of Span 
ish Moriscos and of the ease with which a Moslem invasion 
might be effected. Furthermore the conquests of Isabella 
and Ximenez had created Castilian interests in northern 
Africa, of both a political and an economic character, which 
were in need of defence against the efforts of the tributary 
princes to free themselves by Turkish aid. The situation 
was aggravated by the achievements of a renegade Greek 
adventurer and pirate, known best by the sobriquet "Bar 
barossa." This daring corsair became so powerful that he 
was able to dethrone the king of Algiers and set up his own 
brother in his stead. On the death of the latter at the hands 
of the Spaniards hi 1518, Barbarossa placed the kingdom of 
Algiers under the protection of the sultan of Turkey, became 
himself an admiral in the Turkish navy, and soon afterward 
conquered the kingdom of Tunis, whence during many years 
he menaced the Spanish dominions in Italy. Charles in 
person led an expedition in 1535 which was successful in de 
throning Barbarossa and in restoring the former king to the 
throne, but an expedition of 1541, sent against Algiers, was 
a dismal failure. On yet another frontier, that of Hungary, 
Spanish troops were called upon to meet the Turks, and there 
they contributed to the checking of that people at a time 
when then* military power threatened Europe. The problem 
of northern Africa, however, had been little affected by the 
efforts of Charles. 

Meanwhile, the religious question in Germany had all 
along been considered by Charles as one of his most impor 
tant problems. The first war with France prevented any 
action on his part until 1529, since he needed the support 
of the Protestant princes. The movement therefore had 
time to gather headway, and it was evident that Charles 
would meet with determined opposition whenever he should 

CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-1556 243 

decide to face the issue. Various factors entered in to com 
plicate the matter, such, for example, as the fear on the part 
of many princes of the growing Hapsburg power and the 
belief that Charles meant to make the imperial succession 
hereditary in his family. A temporary adjustment of the 
religious situation was made by the imperial Diet held at 
Spires in 1526, when it was agreed that every prince should 
decide for himself in matters of religion. With the close of 
the war with France in 1529, Charles caused the Diet to meet 
again at Spires, on which occasion the previous decision was 
revoked. The princes devoted to the reform ideas protested, 
giving rise to the name " Protestant/ 7 but without avail. 
The Diet was called for the next year at Augsburg, when 
Charles sat in judgment between the two parties. The Prot 
estants presented their side in a document which became 
known as the confession of Augsburg. The Catholic theo 
logians replied, and Charles accepted then- view, ordering the 
Protestant leaders to submit, and threatening to employ 
force unless they should do so. The international situation 
again operated to protect the reform movement, for the Turks 
became threatening, and, indeed, what with the wars with 
France and his numerous other difficulties Charles was un 
able to proceed resolutely to a solution of the religious prob 
lem until the year 1545. At last he was ready to declare 
war. In 1547 he won what seemed to be a decisive victory 
in the battle of Miihlberg, resulting in the subjection of the 
Protestant princes to the Roman Church. They protested 
anew, and, aided by the opposition to Charles on other 
grounds, for example, because of his introduction of Ital 
ian and Spanish soldiery into what was regarded as a domestic 
quarrel, were able to present a warlike front again. This 
time they were joined by Charles* former powerful ally, 
Maurice of Saxony, through whose assistance they success 
fully defended themselves. Peace was made at Passau in 
1552, ratified by the Diet of Augsburg in 1555, whereby the 
Protestant princes obtained equal rights with the Catholic 
lords as to their freedom in religious beliefs. 

Great as were to be the results of Charles reign on its 
European side, it had nevertheless been a failure so far as 



failures of 
and his 

of Charles 
in the 
history of 
Spain and 

Spain and Charles own objects were concerned. Yet other 
disappointments were to fall to his lot. He aspired to the 
imperial title for his son Philip. In this he was opposed 
both by the Germanic nobility, who saw in it an attempt to 
foist upon them a Spanish-controlled absolutism, and by 
his brother Ferdinand, who held the Austrian dominions as 
a fief of the empire and aimed to become emperor himself. 
Unable to prevail in his own policy Charles eventually sup 
ported Ferdinand. For many years, too, he thought of 
establishing an independent Burgundian kingdom as a coun 
terpoise to France, but changed his mind to take up a plan 
for uniting England and the Low Countries, with the same 
object in view. For this latter purpose he procured the hand 
of Queen Mary of England for his son Philip. The marriage 
proved childless, and Philip was both unpopular and without 
power in England. The death of Mary in 1558 ended this 
prospect. At last Charles spirit was broken. For nearly 
forty years he had battled for ideals which he was unable to 
bring to fulfilment ; so he resolved to retire from public life. 
In 1555 he renounced his title to the Low Countries in favor 
of Philip. In 1556 he abdicated in Spain, and went to live 
at the monastery of Yuste in Caceres. He was unable to 
drop out of political life completely, however, and was wont 
to intervene in the affairs of Spain from his monastic retreat. 
In 1558 he gave up his imperial crown, to which his brother 
Ferdinand was elected. Thus Spain was separated from 
Austria, but she retained the Burgundian inheritance and 
the Italian possessions of Aragon. The marriage of Philip 
the Handsome and Juana la Loca was still to be productive 
of fatal consequences to Spain, for together with the Bur 
gundian domains there remained the feeling of Hapsburg soli 

Charles had failed in Europe, but in Spain and especially 
in the Americas he had done more than enough to compen 
sate for his European reverses. His achievements in Spain 
belong to the field of institutional development rather than 
to that of political narrative, however. As for the Americas 
his reign was characterized by such a series of remarkable 
mainland conquests that it is often treated as a distinct epoch 

CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-1556 245 

in American history, the era of the conquistador es, and Span 
ish America is, after all, the principal monument to the 
greatness of his reign. The Emperor Charles V was a fail 
ure ; but King Charles I of Spain gave the Americas to Euro 
pean civilization. 


blance of 
the reign 
of Philip II 
to that of 
Charles I. 

tion and 
of Philip 


IN underlying essentials the reign of Philip II was a repro 
duction of that of Charles I. There were scattered dominions 
and family prestige to maintain, the enemies of the Catholic 
Church to combat, the dominant place of Spain in Europe 
to assure, the strain on Spanish resources, and, as glorious 
offsets to general failure in Europe, the acquisition of some 
European domains and the advance of the colonial conquests. 
Only the details varied. Philip had a more compact nation 
behind him than had fallen to the lot of Charles, although 
there was still much to be desired in that respect; France 
was hostile, though less powerful than formerly, but England 
and Philip s rebellious Protestant Netherlands more than 
made up for the weakness of France ; issues in Germany no 
longer called for great attention, but family politics were 
not forgotten ; on the other hand Philip achieved the ideal 
of peninsula unity through the acquisition of Portugal, car 
rying with it that country s colonies; and, finally, his con 
quests in the new world, though less spectacular than those 
of Charles, compared favorably with them in actual fact. 

Historians have often gone to extremes in their judgments 
of Philip II. Some have been ardently pro-Philip, while 
others were as bitterly condemnatory. Recently, opinions 
have been more moderately expressed. In addition to native 
ability and intelligence Philip had the benefit of an unusually 
good education in preparation for government. Charles 
himself ^ was one of the youth s instructors, and, long before 
his various abdications, had given Philip political practice 
in various ways, for example, by making him co-regent of 
Spain with Cardinal Tavera during Charles own absence in 


THE REIGN OF PHILIP II, 1556-1598 247 

Germany. Philip also travelled extensively in the lands 
which he one day hoped to govern, in Italy (1548), the 
Low Countries (1549), and Germany (1550). In 1543 he 
married a Portuguese princess, Maria, his first cousin. One 
son, Charles, was born of this marriage, but the mother died 
in childbirth. His fruitless marriage with Mary Tudor, 
in 1553, has already been mentioned. He remained in Eng 
land until 1555, when he went to the Low Countries to be 
crowned, and thence to Spain, of which country he became 
king in 1556, being at that time twenty-nine years old. His 
abilities as king of Spain were offset in a measure by certain 
unfortunate traits and practices. He was of a vacillating 
type of mind ; delays in his administration were often long 
and fatal, and more than once he let slip a golden oppor 
tunity for victory, because he could not make up his mind to 
strike. Of a suspicious nature, he was too little inclined to 
rely upon men from whose abilities he might have profited. 
A tremendous worker, he was too much in the habit of trying 
to do everything himself, with the result that greater affairs 
were held up, while the king of Spain worked over details. 
Finally, he was extremely rigorous with heretics, from motives 
of religion and of political policy. 

The principal aim of Philip s life was the triumph of Cathol- War with 
icism, but this did not hinder his distinguishing clearly be- the pope, 
tween the interests of the church and those of the popes as 
rulers of the Papal States. Thus it was not strange that 
Philip s reign should begin with a war against Pope Paul IV. 
The latter excommunicated both Charles and Philip, and 
procured alliances with France and, curious to relate, the 
sultan of Turkey, head of the Moslem world. The pope was 
defeated, but it was not until the accession of Pius IV, in 
1559, that the bans of excommunication were raised. 

There was a constant succession of war and peace with Wars with 
France throughout the reign, with the campaigns being France, 
fought more often in northern France from the vantage 
ground of Flanders than in Italy as in the time of Charles. 
In 1557 Philip might have been able to take Paris, but he 
hesitated, and the chance was lost. Many other times 
Philip s generals won victories, but attacks from other quar- 


ters of Europe would cause a diversion, or funds would give 
out, or Philip himself would change his plans. France was 
usually on the defensive, because she was weakened during 
most of the period by the domestic strife between Catholics 
and Protestants. When in 1589 the Protestant leader be 
came entitled to the throne as Henry IV, Philip and the un 
compromising wing of the French Catholic party endeavored 
to prevent his actual accession to power. At one time it 
was planned to make Philip himself king of France, but, as 
this idea did not meet with favor, various others were sug 
gested, including the proposal of Philip s daughter for the 
crown, or the partition of France between Philip and others. 
Henry IV settled the matter in 1594 by becoming a Catholic, 
wherefore he received the adhesion of the Catholic party. 
Philip was not dissatisfied, for it seemed that he had rid him 
self of a dangerous Protestant neighbor. Had he but known 
it, Henry IV was to accomplish the regeneration of a France 
which was to strike the decisive blow, under Louis XIV, to 
remove Spain from the ranks of the first-rate powers. 
War with While Philip had no such widespread discontent in Spain 
the Grana- to deal with as had characterized the early years of the reign 
Moriscos * Charles, t iere was one Problem leading to a serious civil 
war in southern Spain. The Moriscos of Granada had proved 
to be an industrious and loyal element, supporting Charles 
in the war of the communities, but there was reason to doubt 
the sincerity of their conversion to Christianity. The popu 
lace generally and the clergy in particular were very bitter 
against them, and procured the passage of laws which were 
increasingly severe in their treatment of the Moriscos. An 
edict of 1526 prohibited the use of Arabic speech or dress, 
the taking of baths (a Moslem custom), the bearing of arms, 
the employment of non-Christian names, and the giving of 
lodging in their houses to Mohammedans whether free or 
slave. The Moriscos were also subjected to oppressive in 
spections to prevent Mohammedan religious practices ; they 
were obliged to send their children to Christian schools; 
and a branch of the Inquisition was established in Granada 
to execute, with all the rigors of that institution, the laws 
against apostasy. The full effect of the edict was avoided 

THE REIGN OF PHILIP II, 1556~1598 249 

by means of a financial gift to the king, but the Inquisition 
was not withdrawn. For many years the situation under 
went no substantial change. The clergy, and the Christian 
element generally, continued to accuse the Moriscos, and the 
latter complained of the confiscations and severity of the 
Inquisition. In 1567, however, the edict of 1526 was re 
newed, but in harsher form, amplifying the prohibitions. 
When attempts were made to put the law into effect, and 
especially when agents came to take the Morisco children 
to Christian schools, by force if necessary, an uprising was 
not long in breaking out. The war lasted four years. The 
Moriscos were aided by the mountainous character of the 
country, and they received help from the Moslems of northern 
Africa and even from the Turks. The decisive campaign 
was fought in 1570, when Spanish troops under Philip *s half- 
brother, Juan (or Don John) of Austria, an illegitimate son 
of Charles I, defeated the Moriscos, although the war dragged 
on to the following year. The surviving Moriscos, includ 
ing those who had not taken up arms, were deported en masse 
and distributed in other parts of Castilian Spain. 

The external peril from the Moslem peoples had not con- Wars with 
fined itself to the period of the Morisco war. Piracy still the Turks 
existed in the western Mediterranean, and the Turkish Em 
pire continued to advance its conquests in northern Africa. 
Philip gained great victories, notably when he compelled 
the Turks to raise the siege of Malta in 1564, and especially 
in 1571, when he won the naval battle of Lepanto, in which 
nearly 80,000 Christians were engaged, most of them Span 
iards. These victories were very important in their Euro 
pean bearings, for they broke the Turkish naval power, and 
perhaps saved Europe, but from the standpoint of Spain 
alone they were of less consequence. Philip failed to follow 
them up, partly because of the pressure of other affairs, and 
in part because of his suspicions of the victor of Lepanto, 
the same Juan of Austria who had just previously defeated Juan of 
the Moriscos. Juan of Austria was at the same time a vi- Austria, 
sionary and a capable man of affairs. He was ambitious to 
pursue the Turks to Constantinople, capture that city, and 
restore the Byzantine Empire, with himself as ruler. Philip 


withdrew his support, whereupon Jiian devised a new project 
of a great North African empire. Juan even captured Tunis 
in pursuance of his plan, but Philip would give him no help, 
and Juan was obliged to retire, thus permitting of a Turkish 
reconquest. Philip was always able to offer the excuse of 
lack of funds, and, indeed, the expenditures in the wars 
with Turkey, with all the effects they carried in their train, 
were the principal result to the peninsula of these campaigns. 
Wars in The greatest of Philip s difficulties, and one which bulked 
the Low large in its importance in European history, was the warfare 
Countries. ^^ fr; g rebellious provinces in the Low Countries. Its 
principal bearing in Spanish history was that it caused the 
most continuous and very likely the heaviest drain on the 
royal treasury of any of Philip s problems. The war lasted 
the entire reign, and was to be a factor for more than a half 
century after Philip s death. It got to be in essence a reli 
gious struggle between the Protestants of what became the 
Netherlands and Philip, in which the latter was supported 
to a certain extent by the provinces of the Catholic Nether 
lands, or modern Belgium. Religion, however, was not the 
initial, or at any time the sole, matter in controversy. At 
the outset the causes were such practices as the Castilian 
communities had objected to in the reign of Charles, namely : 
the appointments of foreigners to office; the presence of 
foreign (Spanish) troops ; measures which were regarded as 
the forerunner to an extension of the Spanish Inquisition 
to the Low Countries (against which the nobles and the 
clergy alike, practically afl of whom were Catholic at that 
time, made strenuous objections); Philip s policy of cen 
tralization and absolutism ; the popular aversion for Philip 
as a Spaniard (just as Spaniards had objected to Charles as 
a Fleming) ; and the excessive rigors employed in the sup 
pression of heresy. The early leaders were Catholics, many 
of them members of the clergy, and the hotbed of rebellion 
was rather in the Catholic south than in the Protestant north. 
It was this situation which gave the Protestants a chance to 
strike on their own behalf. The war, or rather series of wars, 
was characterized by deeds of valor and by extreme cruelty. 
Philip was even more harsh in his instructions for dealing 

THE REIGN OF PHILIP II, 1556-1598 251 

with heretics than his generals were in executing them. 
Alba (noted for his severity), Requesens (an able man who 
followed a more moderate policy), Juan of Austria (builder 
of air castles, but winner of battles), and the able Farnese, 
these were the Spanish rulers of the period, all of them 
military men. The elder and the younger William of Orange 
were the principal Protestant leaders. In open combat 
the Spanish infantry was almost invincible, but its victories 
were nullified, sometimes because it was drawn away to wage 
war in France, but more often because money and supplies 
were lacking. On various occasions the troops were left 
unpaid for so long a time that they took matters into their 
own hands. Then, terrible scenes of riot and pillage were 
enacted, without distinction as to the religious faith of the 
sufferers, for even Catholic churches were sacked by the 
soldiery. The outcome for the Low Countries was the vir- 
tual^ independence of the Protestant Netherlands, although 
Spain did not yet acknowledge it. For Spain the result was 
the same as that of her other ventures in European politics, 
only greater in degree than most of them, exhausting 

In the middle years of Philip s reign there was one project The an- 
of great moment in Spanish history which he pushed to a nexation 
successful conclusion, the annexation of Portugal. While of Por " 
the ultimate importance of this event was to be lessened by tugaL 
the later separation of the two kingdoms, they were united 
long enough (sixty years) for notable effects to be felt in 
Spain and more particularly in the Americas. The desire 
for peninsula unity had long been an aspiration of the Cas- 
tilian kings, and its consummation from the standpoint of 
the acquisition of Portugal had several times been attempted, 
though without success. The death of King Sebastian in 
1578 without issue left the Portuguese throne to Cardinal 
Henry, who was already very old, and whom in any event 
the pope refused to release from his religious vows. This 
caused various claimants to the succession to announce 
themselves, among whom were the Duchess of Braganza, 
Antonio (the prior of Crato), and Philip. The first-named 
had the best hereditary claim, since she was descended from 


a son (the youngest) of King Manuel, a predecessor of Se 
bastian. Antonio of Crato was son of another of King Man 
uel s sons, but was of illegitimate birth ; nevertheless, he was 
the favorite of the regular clergy, the popular classes, some 
nobles, and the pope, and was the only serious rival Philip 
had to consider. Philip s mother was the eldest daughter 
of the same King Manuel. With this foundation for his 
claim he pushed his candidacy with great ability, aided by 
the skilful diplomacy of his special ambassador, Cristobal 
de Moura. One of the master strokes was the public an 
nouncement of Philip s proposed governmental policy in 
Portugal, promising among other things to respect the au 
tonomy of the kingdom, recognizing it as a separate political 
entity from Spain. A Portuguese Cortes of 1580 voted for 
the succession of Philip, for the noble and ecclesiastical 
branches supported him, against the opposition of the third 
estate. A few days later King Henry died, and Philip pre 
pared to take possession. The partisans of Antonio resisted, 
but Philip, who had long been in readiness for the emergency, 
sent an army into Portugal under the Duke of Alba, and he 
easily routed the forces of Antonio. In keeping with his 
desire to avoid giving offence to the Portuguese, Philip gave 
Alba the strictest orders to punish any infractions of dis 
cipline 9r improper acts of the soldiery against the inhabit 
ants, and these commands were carefully complied with, 
in striking contrast with the policy which had been followed 
while Alba was governor in the Low Countries. Thus it 
was that a Portuguese Cortes of 1581 solemnly recognized 
Philip as king of Portugal. Philip took oath not to appoint 
any Spaniards to Portuguese offices, and he kept his word 
to the end of his reign. Portugal had now come into the 
peninsula union in much the same fashion that Aragon had 
joined with Castile. With her came the vast area and great 
wealth of the Portuguese colonies of Asia, Africa, and more 
particularly Brazil. If only the Spanish kings might hold 
the country long enough, it appeared inevitable that a real 
amalgamation of such kindred peoples would one day take 
place. Furthermore, if only the kings would have, or could 
have, confined themselves to a Pan-Hispanic policy, em- 

THE REIGN OF PHILIP H, 1556-1598 253 

bracing Spain and Portugal and their colonies, the oppor 
tunity for the continued greatness of the peninsula seemed 
striking. The case was a different one from that of the union 
of Castile and Aragon, however, for a strong feeling of Por 
tuguese nationality had already developed, based largely on 
a hatred of Spaniards. This spirit had something to feed 
upon from the outset in the defeat of the popular Antonio 
of Crato and in the discontent of many nobles, who did not 
profit as much by Philip s accession as they had been led to 
expect. It was necessary to put strong garrisons in Portu 
guese cities and to fortify strategic points. Nevertheless, 
Philip experienced no serious trouble and was able to leave 
Portugal to his immediate successor. 

Philip s r^Hiong w jfcfr Rngkr^, in.w^hich^the^putataiiding Causes of 
event wa^th^,deJEeat^4he-%>aiiish- Armada, hadr elements the war 
oflmpbrtance as affecting Spanish history, especially^ in so ^^ , 
Tafias they concerned English depredations. in the Americas. ng 
They were more important to England, however, than to 
Spain, and the story from the English standpoint has become 
a familiar one. From the moment of Protestant Elizabeth s 
accession to the^EnglisIa throne in 1558, in succession to Cath- 
o!ic~~M*ary, there was a constant atmosphere of impending 
conflict "between Spain and England. Greatest of the 
mind was^ that her rule meant a Prot 

estant England, a serious break in the authority of Catholic 
Christianity , Twf there were other causes for war as well. 
Englishjaid^of an unofficial but substantial character was 
helping to sustain the Protestant Netherlands in revolt 
agaiastJ3pam7~~ Tn the Americas "beyond the line" (of Tor- 
desillas) jthe two countries were virtually at war, although 
in the mairTit was "a conflict of piratical attacks and the sack 
ing of cities on the part qthe^English^ with acts of .retalia 
tion^b^ Jthe_Sganiards^7 This was the age of Drake s and 
Hawkins exploits along the Spanish Main (in the Carib 
bean area), but it was also the age of Gilbert and Raleigh, 
and the first, though ineffectual, attempts of England to 
despoil Spain of her American dominions through the found 
ing of colonies in the Spanish-claimed new world. Inci- 
dents of a special character served to accentuate the feeling 



Why a 
tion of 
war was 

tions for & 
descent ( 
upon \ 

engendered by these more permanent causes, such, for 
example,~ as Elizabeth s appropriation of the treasure which 
Philip was sending to the Low. Countries as pay for his sol 
diers : the-Spanisk^ esselAXQQk^helter ~ux an English port to 
esca^eJrQin.pirate&r whereupon Elizabeth proceeded to " bor 
row/ as she termed it, the wealth they were carrying. Hard 
pressed for funds as Philip always was, this was indeed a 
severe blow. 

Nevertheless, a declaration of war was postponed for 
nearly thirty years. English^ historians ascribe the_dday 
to the diplomatic skill of their favorite queen, but, while 
there is no need to deny her resourcefulness in that respect, 
there were reasons in plenty why Philip himself was desirous 
of deferring hostilities, or better still, avoiding them. In 
view of his existing troubles with France and the Low Coun 
tries Jhe .drew back before the enormous expense that- a war 
with England would entail, to say nothing of the military 
difficulties of attacking an island power. Though he re 
ceived frequent invitations from the Catholics of England 
and Scotland to effect an invasion, these projects were too 
often linked with similar proposals to the kings of France, 
the leading European opponents of the Spanish monarch. 
Philip wished to break the power of Elizabeth and of Prot 
estantism if possible, however, and gave encouragement to 
plots against the life of the English queen or to schemes for 
revolutionary uprisings in favor of Mary Stuart, a Catholic 
and Elizabeth s rival, but none of these designs met with 
success. Many Spanish leaders urged a descent upon Eng 
land, among them Juan of Austria, who wished to lead the 
expeditionary force himself, dreaming possibly of an English 
crown for his reward, but it was not until 1583 that Philip 

viewed these proposals j^ithja^or-^^ ~ 

*< "ttee^ having decided upon an expedition Philip began to 
lay his plans. Mary Stuart was persuaded to disinherit 
her son, who was a Protestant (the later James I of England), 
and to make Philip her heir. The pope was induced to lend 
both financial and moral support to the undertaking, although 
it was necessary to deceive him as to Philip s intentions to 
acquire England for himself; the pope was told that Philip s 

THE REIGN OF PHILIP II, 1556-1598 255" 

daughter was to be made queen of England. The proposed 
descent upon England was no secret to Elizabeth, who made 
ready to resist. With a view to delaying Philip s prepara 
tions, Drake made an attack upon Cadiz in 1587, on which 
occasion he burned all the shipping in the bay. This only 
strengthened Philip s resolutions with regard to the under 
taking, and tended to make him impatient for its early ex 
ecution. Plans were made which proved to be in many 
cases ill considered. The^first mistake ocqiOTed^^dbea-Philip 
didjaot entertain^. proposition of the Scotch and French 
Catholics that he should work in concert with them, thus de 
clining an opportunity to avail himself of ports and bases 
of supply near the point of attack; political reasons were 
the foundation^fpj bis attitude-i^ -this, -matter. Against 
advice~Ee^Iso decided to divide the expedition into a naval 
and a military section, the troops to come from the Low 
Countries after the arrival of the fleet there to transport 
them, Ihaj0aii^m}JXjof alLwas that of Philip s insistence 
on directing the organization of the fleet himself. All de- 
iaHsTiad to be passed upon by the king from his palace of 
the Escorial near Madrid, which necessarily involved both 
delay and a faulty execution of orders. Evil practices and 
incompetence were manifest on every hand; quantities of 
the supplies purchased proved to be useless ; and the officers 
and men were badly chosen, many of the former being with 
out naval experience. A great mistake was made in the ap 
pointment of the Duke of Medina Sidonia to lead the ex 
pedition; the principal recommendation of the duke was 
that of his family prestige, for he was absolutely lacking in 
knowledge of maritime affairs, and said as much to the king, 
but the latter insisteithat he should take command. 
"At length the fleet was able to leave Lisbon, and later Defeat 
Coruna, in the year 1588. Because of its great size it was of the 
termed the Armada Inwncible (the Invincible Fleet), a name Armada, 
which has been taken over into English as the Spanish, or 
the Invincible, Armada. In all there were 131 ships, with 
over 25,000 sailors, soldiers, and officers. The evil effect 
of Philip s management followed the Armada to sea. He 
had given detailed instructions what to do, and the com- 



and death 
of Philip. 

mander-in-chief would not vary from them. Many officers 
thought it would be best to make an attack on Plymouth, 
to secure that port as a base of operations, but Philip had 
given orders that the fleet should first go to the Low Coun 
tries to effect a junction with the troops held in readiness 
there. The story of the battle with the English fleet is well 
known. The contest .was altogether one-sided, for the Eng 
lish ships were both superior in speed and equipped with 
longer range artillery. Nevertheless_storms contributed 
more than the enemy to the Spanish defeat. The Armada 
was utterly dispersed, and many vessels were wrecked. Only 
65 ships and some 10,000 men were able to return to Spain. 
The decisive blow had been struck, and Spain was the 
loser. The English war went on into the next reign, and 
there were several spectacular military events, not all of 
them unfavorable to Spanish arms, but they affected the 
general situation only in that they continued the strain on 
the royal exchequer. In the final analysis Philip had failed 
in this as in so many other enterprises. This fact was clear, 
even at the time, although the eventualities of later years 
were to make the outcome appear the more decisive. Philip s 
evil star did not confine its effects to his international poli 
cies. His eldest son, Charles, proved to be of feeble body 
and unbalanced mind. Getting into difficulties with his 
father, he was placed in prison by the latter s orders, and 
was never seen again, dying in 1568. Charges have been 
made that Philip caused his death, but he was probably 
blameless, although he did plan to disinherit him. Philip 
had no other son until 1571, when his eventual successor was 
born, by his fourth wife. Certain other domestic troubles, 
not divorced from scandal (although the evidence is in no 
case conclusive), may be passed over, except to mention the 
crowning grief of all. It early became clear that his son and 
heir, the later Philip III, was a weak character. " God, who 
has given me so many kingdoms/ Philip is reported to have 
said, "has denied me a son capable of ruling them." In 
1598 Philip died. His last days were passed in extreme 
physical suffering, which he endured with admirable resig 
nation. Philip, like the Emperor Charles, his father, had 

THE REIGN OF PHILIP II, 1556-1598 257 

been indeed a great king, but he was a victim, as Charles 
had been, of a mistaken policy. Nevertheless, they had 
ruled Spain in her century of greatness, when Spain was not 
only the leading power in Europe, but was planting her in 
stitutions, for all time, in the vast domains of the Americas* 


of the 


THE unfortunate policies of Charles I and Philip II were 
continued during the seventeenth century in the reigns of 
Philip III, Philip IV, and Charles II, but Spain was no longer 
able to hold her front rank position in European affairs, 
especially after the buffets of fortune which fell to her lot in 
the reign of Philip IV. Not only that, but a decline also set 
in which affected Spanish civilization in all its phases. The 
impetus of Spain s greatness in the sixteenth century carried 
her along to yet loftier heights in some manifestations of her 
inner life, notably in art and literature, but even in these 
characteristics the decline was rapid and almost complete 
by the end of the reign of Charles II. Italy, France, and the 
Low Countries continued to absorb Spanish effort, but now 
it was Spain s turn to acknowledge defeat, while France, the 
great power of the century, took toll for the losses she had 
suffered at the hands of Charles I and Philip II. The un 
successful Catalan revolt and the victorious war of the 
Portuguese for independence assisted to drain Spain of her 
resources, financial and otherwise, while the last-named event 
destroyed peninsula unity, carrying with it such of the Portu 
guese colonies as had not already been lost. Spain yielded 
the aggressive to her strongest opponent, and endeavored 
herself to maintain the defence. Nevertheless, great achieve 
ments were still the rule in the colonies, even if of a less showy 
type than formerly. Spain was still the conqueror and civil- 
izer. On the other hand, the efforts of other nations to found 
colonies in lands claimed by Spain began to be successful, 
and this movement gathered force throughout the century, 




together with the direct annexation of some lands which were 
already Spanish. 

Philip III (1598-1621) was the first of three sovereigns, 
each of whom was weaker than his predecessor. The fif 
teenth-century practice of government by favorites was re 
stored. Philip III turned over the political management of 
his kingdom to the Duke of Lerma, while he himself indulged 
in wasteful extravagances, punctuated by an equal excess in 
religious devotions. He had inherited wars with England 
and the Protestant Netherlands, but the first of these was 
brought to an end in 1604, shortly after the accession of 
James I of England. The war in the Low Countries was 
characterized by the same features which had marked its 
progress in the previous reign. Philip II had endeavored to 
solve the problem by making an independent kingdom of 
that region, under his daughter and her husband as the 
rulers, with a proviso for a reversion to Spain in case of a 
failure of the line. This measure was practically without 
effect, for Spanish troops and Spanish moneys continued to 
be the basis for the wars against the Dutch, or Protestant, 
element. Before the end of Philip Ill s reign the decision 
for a reversion to Spanish authority had already been made 
and accepted. There were two factors in the Dutch wars 
of the period worthy of mention. For one thing the Dutch 
became more bold on the seas, and began a remarkable career 
of maritime conquest which was to last well over half a cen 
tury. As affecting Spain this new activity manifested itself 
mainly in piratical attacks on Spanish ships, or in descents 
upon Spanish coasts, but a number of Philip s Portuguese 
colonies were picked up by the Dutch. The Dutch wars also 
produced a man who was both a great soldier (a not uncom 
mon type in that day of Spanish military importance) and a 
great statesman, who sensed the evil course which Spain was 
following in her European relations and argued against it, 
all to no avail. This man was Ambrosio Spinola. Spinola 
won victory upon victory from the Dutch, but was often 
obliged to rely on his personal estate for the funds with which 
to carry on the campaigns ; so when the Dutch asked for a 
truce he favored the idea, and on this occasion his views 

Philip III 






the Low 


and the 







the Italian 



and the 


of the 



Philip IV 



were allowed to prevail. A twelve-year truce was agreed 
upon in 1609, one condition of which was the recognition of 
the independence of the Protestant states. In 1618 the 
great conflict which has become known as the Thirty Years 
War broke out in Germany, having its beginnings in a dispute 
between the Hapsburg emperor, Ferdinand, and the Protest 
ant elector of the Palatinate. Spain entered the war on the 
side of Ferdinand, largely because of family reasons, but 
also in support of Catholicism. Spinola was sent into the 
Palatinate with a Spanish army, where he swept everything 
before him. Thus casually did Spain enter a war which was 
to be a thirty-nine years conflict for her (1620-1659) and 
productive of her own undoing. 

Affairs with France were characterized by a bit of good 
fortune which postponed the evil day for Spain. Henry IV 
had reorganized the French kingdom until it reached a state 
of preparation which would have enabled it to take the 
offensive, a policy which Henry had in mind. The assassi 
nation of the French king, in 1610, prevented an outbreak of 
war between France and Spain at a time when the latter 
was almost certain to be defeated. Marie de Medici became 
regent in France, and chose to keep the peace. Italy was a 
constant source of trouble in this reign, due to the conflict 
of interests between the kings of Spain and the popes and 
princes of the Italian peninsula. There was a succession of 
petty wars or of the prospects of war, which meant that 
affairs were always in a disturbed condition. The Turks 
continued to be a peril to Europe ; and their co-religionists 
and subjects in northern Africa were the terror of the seas. 
Spam rendered service to Europe by repulsing the attempts 
of the former to get a foothold in Italy, but could do nothing 
to check piratical ventures. The pirates of the Barbary 
Coast plied their trade both in the Mediterranean and along 
Spain s Atlantic coasts to their limits in the Bay of Biscay, 
while English and Dutch ships were active in the same pur 

The storm broke in the reign of Philip IV (1621-1665). 
Philip IV was only sixteen at the time of his accession to 
the throne. He had good intentions, and tried to interest 

A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700 261 

himself in matters of government, but was of a frivolous and 
dissolute nature, unable to give consideration for any length 
of time to serious affairs. The result was the rule of another 
favorite, the Count-Duke of Olivares. Olivares was possibly 
the worst man who could have been chosen, precisely because 
he had sufficient ability to attempt the execution of his mis 
taken ideas. He was energetic, intelligent, and well educated, 
but was stubborn, proud, irascible, boastful, and insulting. 
He was able to make plans on a gigantic scale, and had real 
discernment as to the strength of Spain s enemies, but lacked 
the practical capacity to handle the details. The tunes 
were such as demanded a Spinola, but the counsels of Oli 
vares prevailed, and their keynote was imperialism in Europe 
and a centralized absolutism in the peninsula. 

The truce with the Dutch came to an end in 1 621 . Spinola Spanish 
urged that it be continued, but Olivares gave orders for the losses in 
resumption of hostilities. No advantages of consequence the 
were obtained by Spain, but the Dutch were again successful 
in their career on the seas. The Thirty Years War con- 
tinued to involve Spain. France, though Catholic and 
virtually ruled by a Catholic cardinal, Richelieu, was more 
intent on the development of the French state than upon 
the religious question, and aided the Protestants against 
their enemies. Richelieu did not bring France into the war 
until 1635, but, in the meantime, through grants of money and 
skilful diplomacy, he was able to make trouble for Spain in 
Italy and in the Low Countries. When at length it seemed 
as if the Catholic states might win, due largely to the effect 
iveness of the Spanish infantry, France entered the war on 
the side of the Protestant princes. Spanish troops con 
tinued to win battles, without profiting greatly because of 
the incessant difficulties from lack of funds. In 1643 the 
French, under Cond6, defeated the Spaniards at Rocroy. 
The moral effect of this victory was tremendous, like the 
surrender of the ancient Spartans at the Island of Sphacteria, 
for it was the first time in some two centuries that the Span 
ish infantry had been defeated in pitched battle under nearly 
equal conditions. Henceforth defeats were no novelty. 
The tide had turned ; Rocroy spelled Spam s doom as a great 


power. The treaties of Westphalia in 1648 affected Spain 
only so far as concerned the war with the Protestant Nether 
lands. Dutch independence was reaffirmed, and the colonies 
which the Dutch had won, mainly from the Portuguese in 
the East Indies, were formally granted to them. The Catho 
lic Netherlands remained Spanish. The war with France 
went on until 1659. In 1652 Cromwell offered Spain an 
alliance against France, but the price demanded was high; 
one of the conditions was that Spain should permit English 
men to trade with the Spanish colonies, an entering wedge 
for an English commercial supremacy which might easily 
be converted into political acquisition. Spain declined 
and Cromwell joined France. The English conquest of 
Jamaica in the ensuing war was the first great break in the 
solidarity of the actually occupied Spanish domain, marking 
a turning point in colonial history, as Rocroy had done in 
that of Europe. By the treaty of 1659 Spain gave up the 
Roussillon and Cerdagne, thus accepting the Pyrenees as 
the boundary between herself and France. Spain also sur 
rendered Sardinia and large parts both of the Catholic Nether 
lands and of her former Burgundian possessions. The most 
fruitful clause in the treaty was that providing for the 
marriage of the Spanish princess, Maria Teresa, with Louis 
XIV of France. The former was to renounce for herself 
and her heirs any rights she or they might otherwise have to 
the Spanish throne, while a considerable dowry was to be 
paid by Spain on her behalf. The results of this marriage 
will be mentioned presently. 

Catalan Intimately related to the wars just referred to was the 

dis- Catalan revolt. The Catalans had long been a nation so far 

content. as separate language and institutions go, and their traditions 
compared well with those of Castile, which had now come to 
dominate in the Spanish state. The whole course of the 
revolt is illustrative of the difficulties under which Spain 
labored in this era of European wars. The Catalans had 
objected for centuries, even before the union with Castile, 
to the policy of centralization and absolutism of the kings, 
alleging their charter rights which were thus contravened. 
Such acts as the failure of the kings to call the Catalan 

A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700 263 

Cortes, the increases in taxation, or the levying of taxes like 
those paid in Castile, and the introduction of the Castilian 
Inquisition had been unfavorably received in the past. 
Now came the monarchical designs of Olivares, coupled with 
the unavoidable exigencies of the wars, to heighten the dis 
content. Aside from the increased taxation there were two 
matters to which the Catalans were strenuously opposed on 
the ground that they were against their legal rights, the 
maintenance of foreign troops (even Castilians and Aragonese 
being so regarded) in Catalonia and the enjoyment of public 
office by persons who were not Catalans. Furthermore they 
objected to the employment of Catalan troops in foreign 
countries, holding that their obligations were limited to 
defending Catalonia, and similarly they maintained that 
funds raised in Catalonia should not be used for wars outside 
that province. Philip IV tried to procure a subsidy from 
the Catalan Cortes in 1626, but the grant was denied. An 
other attempt was made in 1632, on which occasion Olivares 
imprudently followed the methods of Charles I at the time 
of the Cortes of Santiago-Coruna. He got the funds, but 
his action caused great dissatisfaction in the province. 
Meanwhile the danger of an invasion from France had led 
to the sending of troops to Catalonia, and constant friction 
followed their arrival. The imperfect military discipline 
of that age, together with the annoyances usually inseparable 
from the presence of armies, resulted in many abuses, which 
were resented even to the point of armed conflict ; as early 
as 1629, eleven years before the outbreak, there was a bloody 
encounter between the citizens and the soldiery at Barcelona. 
The irksome requirement calling upon the towns to lodge the 
troops was also productive of iU feeling. By law the most 
that could be demanded was the use of a room, a bed, a 
table, fire, salt, vinegar, and service, while all else must be 
paid for. Lack of funds was such, however, that more than 
this was exacted. In addition to this there came an order 
from Madrid calling for the imposition of the quinto, or fifth, 
of the revenues of the municipalities. France took advantage 
of the situation to fan the flame of discontent and to win 
certain Catalan nobles of the frontier to her side. Neverthe- 



ning of 


The war 

less, when the French invaded the Roussillon in 1639 the 
Catalans rushed to arms and helped to expel them early in 

The questions of lodging the soldiers and of procuring addi 
tional funds continued to provoke trouble. Olivares said 
in an open meeting of the Consejo Real that the Catalans 
ought to be made to contribute in proportion to their wealth. 
Later he ordered an enforced levy of Catalan troops for use 
in Italy, and stated in the decree so providing that it was 
necessary to proceed without paying attention to " provincial 
pettiness" (menudmcias promntiales). The impulse for the 
outbreak proceeded, however, from the conflicts between the 
soldiers and the peasantry of the country districts, especially 
on account of the excesses of the retreating royal troops at 
the time of the French invasion of the Roussillon. Curi 
ously enough, the peasantry acted very largely from religious 
motives. Many of the soldiers were utter foreigners to the 
Catalans, such, for example, as the Italians and the Irish, 
both of which elements were present in considerable num 
bers. To the ignorant peasants these strange-mannered 
people, who were Catholics in fact, seemed most certainly 
heretics. Attacks on the soldiery began in the mountain 
districts early in 1640, and soon extended to the cities as well. 
In June a serious riot occurred in Barcelona, during which 
the hated royal viceroy was killed. That act marked the 
triumph of the revolution and the beginning of the war. 

It is possible that a policy of moderation might still have 
avoided the conflict, but such action was not taken. The 
war lasted nineteen years, and was fought bitterly until 
1653. In 1640 the Catalans formed a republic, and made 
an alliance with France, putting themselves under the pro 
tection of the French monarchy. The republic was short 
lived ; in 1641 the monarchical form returned, with a recogni 
tion of the king of France as ruler. French troops aided 
the Catalans in many expeditions, but in this very fact lay 
the remedy for the grievances against Spain. The Catalans 
found that French officials and French soldiers committed 
the same abuses as those which they had objected to in the 
case of Castile. Coupled with a statement of Philip IV that 

A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700 265 

he had never intended to interfere with the Catalan fueros, 
or charter rights (although Olivares certainly had so in 
tended), this proved to be the turning point. Philip con 
firmed the charters in 1653, but the fighting went on in cer 
tain regions until 1659, when Catalonia was recognized as 
part of Spain in the treaty of peace with France. The war 
had one good result ; it occasioned the dismissal of Olivares 
in 1643. Nevertheless, the evil had been done beyond re 
pair, though the dispute had experienced a turn for the better, 
dating from Olivares deprivation from office. 

Meanwhile, Olivares had involved Spain in another direc- Mildness 
tion. From the time of the acquisition of Portugal by of Spanish 
Philip II that region had been exceedingly well treated by 
the Spanish kings : no public offices were given to any but 
Portuguese ; no military or naval forces and no taxes were 
required for purely Spanish objects ; the Portuguese colonies 
were left to the Portuguese, and the route around Africa to 
the Far East was closed to Spaniards ; Lisbon continued to 
be the centre of Portuguese colonial traffic, as Seville was 
for Spain ; and even the members of the House of Braganza, 
despite their dangerous claim to the throne, were allowed to 
remain in Portugal, and were greatly favored. Furthermore, 
Philip II abolished customs houses between Portugal and 
Castile, made advantageous administrative improvements 
(among other things, reforming colonial management, on the 
Spanish model), and attempted something in the way of 
public works. The annexation weighed very lightly on the 
country. The king was represented by a viceroy; there 
were a few Spanish troops in Portugal; and some taxes 
were collected, though they were far from heavy in amount. 
Spain has been charged with the responsibility for the loss 
of many Portuguese colonies, on the ground that Portugal 
became involved in the wars against the Spanish kings, and 
therefore open to the attack of Spain s enemies. There is 
reason for believing, however, that the connection served 
rather as a pretext than a cause ; this was an age when the 
North European powers were engaging in colonial enter 
prises, and it is worthy of note that the Dutch, who were 
the principal successors to the Portuguese possessions, con- 


tinued to make conquests from Portugal after they had 

formed an alliance with that country in the war of Portuguese 

independence from Spain. In fact, very little passed into 

foreign hands prior to the Portuguese separation from the 

Spanish crown as compared with what was lost afterward. 

The im- While the nobility and the wealthy classes favored the 

perialism union with Spain, there were strong elements in the country 

^ ? li ^ arS f a contrary opinion, for whom leaders were to be found hi 

uprising in 

tne lower ranks of ^ ^^^ cler gy and especially among 

Portugal, the Jesuits. The masses of the people still hated Spaniards ; 
several generations were necessary before that traditional 
feeling could be appreciably lessened. A current of opposi 
tion manifested itself as early as the reign of Philip III, 
when the Duke of Lerma, the king s favorite minister, pro 
posed to raise the prohibition maintained against the Jews 
forbidding them to sell their goods when emigrating, and 
planned to grant them civil equality with Christians. This 
had coincided with a slight increase in taxation to produce 
discontent. It was natural that the imperialistic Olivares 
should wish to introduce a radical change in the relations 
of Spain and Portugal. He early addressed the king on the 
advisability of bringing about a veritable amalgamation 
of the two countries, and suggested that Portuguese indi 
viduals should be given some offices hi Castile, and Cas- 
tilians in like manner awarded posts in Portugal. When 
this purpose became known it was used as one of the prin 
cipal means of stirring up opposition to Spain, on the ground 
that Portugal was to be deprived of her autonomy. The 
renewal of legislation such as that proposed by the Duke 
of Lerma with respect to the Jews and an increase in taxa 
tion added to the dissatisfaction in Portugal to such an extent 
that there were several riots. Spain s financial difficulties 
arising from the European wars led Olivares to turn yet more 
insistently to Portugal, and in the year 1635 new and heavier 
taxes began to be imposed, together with the collection of 
certain ecclesiastical rents which had been granted to the 
king by the pope. This produced the first outbreak against 
the royal authority. A revolution was started at Evora in 
1637 which soon spread to all parts of Portugal, but the 

A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700 267 

nobles, the wealthy classes, and the Duke of Braganza were 
not in favor of the movement, and it was soon suppressed. 
The condition of affairs which had provoked it continued, 
however, and was accentuated by new burdens and fresh 
departures from the agreement of Philip II. Taxes became 
heavier still ; Portuguese troops were required to serve in the 
Low Countries; and the Duke of Braganza, of whom Oli- 
vares was unreasonably suspicious, was appointed viceroy 
of Milan, with a view to getting him out of Portugal. It 
was this last measure which was to bring about a fresh and 
more determined uprising than that of 1637. The duke 
refused the appointment, whereupon Olivares completely 
changed front, possibly with a view to concealment of his 
real suspicions, and made Braganza military governor of 
Portugal, besides sending him funds with which to repair 
the fortifications of the kingdom. The duke would almost 
certainly have been satisfied with this arrangement, had it 
not been for his wife, whose ambitious character was not 
duly taken into account by Olivares. This lady was a 
Spaniard of the family of the dukes of Medina Sidonia, but 
she was desirous of being a queen, even though it should 
strike a blow at her native land. She conspired to bring 
about a Portuguese revolution headed by her husband, who 
should thus become king of Portugal. The Catalonian 
outbreak of 1640 furnished a pretext and the propitious occa 
sion desired. The Duke of Braganza and the nobility gener 
ally were ordered to join the royal army in suppressing the 
Catalans. Instead, the nobles rebelled, and the revolution 
broke out on the first of December in the same year, 1640. 
Fortresses were seized, and the Duke of Braganza was pro 
claimed as Joao (or John) IV, king of Portugal. 

The war lasted twenty-eight years, but, although it might The war 
well have been considered as more important than any of the of Por- 
problems of the time, other than the equally momentous Cat- 
alan revolt, it was not actively prosecuted by Spain. Spain 
was engaged in too many other wars, to which she gave per 
haps an undue share of her attention, and was more than 
ever beset by her chronic difficulty of lack of funds. France, 
England, and the Protestant Netherlands gave help to Portu- 



Other re 
volts and 

" the Be 

gal at different times, whereby the last-named was able to 
maintain herself against the weak attacks of Spain. The 
decisive battle was fought at Villaviciosa in 1665, but it was 
not until 1668, in the reign of Charles II, that peace was 
made. Portugal was recognized as independent, retaining 
such of her former colonies as had not already been taken 
by the Dutch, with one exception ; the post of Ceuta, 
in northern Africa, remained Spanish, the only reminder 
of Spain s great opportunity to establish peninsula unity 
through the union with Portugal. 

Still other difficulties arose in Italy and in Spain to harass 
the reign of Philip IV. There were revolts in Sicily in 1646- 
1647, and in Naples in 1647-1648, both of which were put 
down. An Aragonese plot was discovered, and there was no 
uprising. A similar plot in Andalusia was headed by the 
Duke of Medina Sidonia, captain general of the province 
and brother of the new queen of Portugal. This too was un 
covered in time to prevent an outbreak. In Vizcaya there 
was a serious revolt, growing out of an alleged tampering 
with local privileges, but it was eventually put down. In 
fine, the reign had been one of disaster. Olivares had been 
the chief instrument to bnng it about, but, after all, he only 
represented the prevailing opinion and traditional policies. 
The moment of reckoning had come. 

The reign of Charles II (1665-1700) was a period of waiting 
for what seemed likely to be the end, unless fate should in 
tervene to give a new turn to affairs. The king himself 
was doubly in need of a regent, for he was only four years old 
when he succeeded to the throne and was also weak and sick 
in mind and body. He was subject to epileptic fits, on which 
account he was termed Charles "the Bewitched" (el Hechi- 
zado), and many people believed that he was indeed possessed 
of a Devil. This disgusting, but pitiful, creature was ex 
pected to die at any moment, but he lived to rule, though 
little more than in name, for thirty-five years. The whole 
reign was one of plotting for the succession, since it early 
became clear that Charles II could have no heir. There 
was a pro-French party, a pro-Austrian party, and a very 
strong group which favored a Spaniard, Juan of Austria, 

A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700 269 

illegitimate son of a Spanish king, as his predecessor of the 

same name had been. Juan of Austria became virtual ruler 

in 1677, but died in 1679, thus eliminating the only prominent 

claimant in Spain. France, at the height of her power under French ag- 

Louis XIV, was unwilling to wait for the death of Charles II gressions. 

before profiting by Spanish weakness, and therefore engaged 

in several wars of aggression, directed primarily against 

Spain s possessions in the Low Countries and against the 

Protestant Netherlands. In many of these wars other powers 

fought on the side of Spain and the Dutch, notably the Holy 

Roman Emperor, many princes of Germany, and Sweden, 

while England and the pope joined the allies against the 

French military lord in the last war of the period. Four 

times Spain was forced into conflict, in 1667-1668, 1672-1678, 

1681-1684, and 1689-1697. Province after province in 

northern Europe was wrested away, until, after the last war, 

when Louis XIV had achieved his greatest success, little 

would have remained, but for an unusual spirit of generosity 

on the part of the French king. Instead of taking further 

lands from Spain, he restored some which he had won in this 

and previous wars. The reason was that he now hoped to 

procure the entire dominions of Spain for his own family. 

The leader of the party favoring the Hapsburg, or Austrian, Plottings 
succession in Spain was the queen-mother, Maria Ana, her- of the 
self of the House of Austria. After many vicissitudes she Austrian 
at length seemed to have achieved a victory, -when she pp ene j 1 
brought about the marriage of Charles II to an Austrian parties for 
princess in 1689, the same year in which the king s former the suc- 
wife, a French princess, had died. The situation was all the cession, 
more favorable in that Louis XIV declared war against Spain 
in that year for the fourth time in the reign. The very 
necessities of the war, added to the now chronic bad adminis 
tration and the general state of misery in Spain, operated, 
however, to arouse discontent and to provoke opposition to 
the party in power. Thus the French succession was more 
popular, even during the war, than that of the allied House 
of Austria. After the -war was over, the French propaganda 
was established on a solid basis, for it was evident, now, that 
Charles II could not long survive. Louis XIV put forward 


his grandson, Philip of Anjou, as a candidate, and the Holy 
Roman Emperor urged the claims of his son, the Archduke 
Charles. Not only did Philip have the weaker hereditary 
claim, but he also had the renunciation of his grandmother, 
Maria Teresa, wife of Louis XIV, against him. The last- 
named objection was easily overcome, since Spam had never 
paid the promised dowry of Maria Teresa, wherefore Louis 
XIV held that the renunciation was of no effect. 
Success of The fight, after all, was a political one, and not a mere de- 
the French termination of legal right, and in this respect Louis XIV and 
party. ^ candidate, Philip, had the advantage, through skilful 
diplomacy. The French party in Madrid was headed by 
Cardinal Portocarrero, a man of great influence, assisted by 
Harcourt, the French ambassador. The imperial ambassa 
dor, Harrach, and Stanhope, the representative of England, 
worked together; the union of France and Spam under 
Bourbon rulers, who would probably be French-controlled, 
represented a serious upsetting of the balance of power, 
wherefore England desired the succession of the Archduke 
Charles, who at that time was not a probable candidate for 
the imperial crown. For several years Madrid was the 
scene of one of the most fascinating diplomatic battles in 
European history. The feeble-minded king did not know 
what to do, and asked advice on all sides, but could not make 
up his mind about the succession. The Austrian party had 
his ea r, however, through his Austrian wife, and through 
the king s confessor, who was one of their group, but by a 
clever strike of Portocarrero s the king was persuaded that 
his wife was plotting to kill him, and was induced to change 
confessors, this time accepting a member of the French party. 
To divide his opponents Louis XIV proposed the dismember 
ment of Spain and her possessions among the leading claim 
ants, assigning Spain, Flanders, and the colonies to a third 
candidate, the Prince of Bavaria. The French king did not 
intend that any such division should take place, and in any 
event the Bavarian prince soon died, but through measures 
of this type Louis XIV eventually contrived to supplant in 
office and in influence nearly all who opposed the Bourbon 
succession. [Meanwhile, the unfortunate king was stirred 

A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700 271 

up and worried, although possibly without evil design, so that 
his health was more and more broken and his mentality dis 
ordered to the point of idiocy, hastening his death. Strange 
medicines and exorcisms were used in order to cast out the 
Devil with which he was told he was possessed, exciting the 
king to the point of frenzy. In 1700 Louis XIV abandoned 
his course of dissimulation to such an extent that it became 
clear that he would endeavor to procure all the Spanish 
dominions for Philip. Henceforth it was a struggle between 
the two principal claimants for exclusive rule. The wretched 
Spanish monarch was at length obliged to go to bed by what 
was clearly his last illness. Even then he was not left in 
peace, and the plotting continued almost to the very end. 
On October 3, Philip was named by the dying king as sole 
heir to all his dominions. On November 1, Charles II died, 
and with him passed the rule of the House of Austria. 


events in 
the social 
history of 
the era. 

mation of 
the no 
bility to 


As compared with the two preceding eras there was little 
in this period strikingly new in social history. In the main, 
society tended to become more thoroughly modern, but along 
lines whose origins dated farther back. The most marked 
novelty in Spain was the conversion of the Mudejares of 
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, followed less than a century 
later by the expulsion of the Moriscos from every part of 
Spam. The most remarkable phase of social history of the 
time, however, was the subjection, conversion, and to a 
certain extent the civilization of millions of Indians in the 
Americas. The work was^thorough enough to mark those 
lands permanently with the impress of Spain. 

By a process of natural evolution from the practices 
current in the reign of the Catholic Kings the nobles came 
to exhibit characteristics very similar to those of present-day 
society. They now went to court if they could, or else to 
the nearest large city, where they became a bourgeois no 
bility. Those who remained on their estates were soon 
forgotten. Through social prestige the nobles were still 
able to procure not only the honorary palace posts but also 
the majority of the greater political and military commands. 
Now and then, an untitled letrado would attain to a vice- 
royalty or other high position, but these cases were the 
exception. In this way, the great body of the nobles were 
able to counteract the economic losses of their class occasioned 
by the new importance of mercantile and industrial wealth. 
Nevertheless, the wealthiest men of the times were nobles, 
with whom the richest of middle-class merchants could 



hardly compare in material possessions. The more extraor 
dinary accumulations of wealth, based on vast lands and the 
institution of primogeniture, were confined to a few of the 
greatest nobles of the land, however. The vast horde of 
the segundones and others of the lesser nobility found service 
as before at court, or in the train of some great noble, in the 
army, and in the church. The nobles retained most of the 
privileges they had previously enjoyed, but except in Aragon 
proper lost much of the political jurisdiction they had 
formerly exercised over their own lands. The sentiment in 
favor of the royal authority was now so strong that any 
limitation on the power of the sovereign was viewed with 
disapproval. The jurisdiction which the lords retained 
was limited by many royal rights of intervention, such as 
the superior authority of the king s law, or the royal institu 
tion of the pesquisa. Some remnants of the lords former 
political and social power over their vassals existed, but in 
general the relation was the purely civil one of landlord and 
tenant. In Aragon, despite attempts to effect reforms, the 
lords still possessed seigniorial authority, accompanied by 
the irksome incidents of serfdom ; required personal services 
of their vassals ; collected tributes of a medieval character ; 
exercised a paternal authority (such as that of permitting 
or refusing their vassals a right to marry) ; and had the power 
of life and death. 

The hierarchy of the nobility was definitely established in Hierarchy 
this period. At the top, representing the medieval ricos- of *&? 
hombres, were the grandees (Grande*) and the "titles" nobmt y- 
(Tttulos). The principal difference between the two was 
that the former were privileged to remain covered in the 
presence of the king and to be called "cousins" of the 
monarch, while those of the second grade might only be 
called "relatives," empty honors, which were much es 
teemed, however, as symbolic of rank. These groups monop 
olized all titles such as marquis, duke, count, and prince. 
Below them were the caballeros and the hidalgos. The word 
hidalgos was employed to designate those nobles of inferior 
rank without fortune, lands, jurisdiction, or high public 
office. The desire for the noble rank of hidalgo and the 




of medie 
among the 

of the 
the rise 
of the 
and the 

vanity marked by the devising of family shields became a 
national disease, and resulted in fact in the increase of the 
hidalgo class. The people of Guipfizcoa claimed that they 
were all hidalgos, and received the royal recognition of their 
pretension. Measures were taken to check this dangerous 
exemplification of social pride, but on the other hand the 
treasury found the sale of rights of hidalguw a profitable 
source of income. In 1541 there were less than 800.000 
taxpayers in Castile, but over 100,000 hidalgos. The nobles 
did not at once forget their medieval practices of duelling, 
private war, plotting, and violence. There were instances 
of these throughout the era, and in Aragon and Majorca 
they were almost continuous. Nevertheless, the situation 
did not become so serious as it had been in the past; it 
merely represented the deeply rooted force of noble tradition, 
which objected to any submission to discipline. Both the 
hierarchy of the nobility, with all its incidents of broad 
estates, jurisdictions, class pride, and vanity, and the 
irresponsible practices of the nobles passed over into the 

While there were many different categories of free Chris 
tian society the essential grades were those of nobles (or 
members of the clergy) and plebeians. There were many 
rich merchants of the middle class who aped the nobility 
in entailing their estates and in luxurious display, and there 
were learned men who received distinguished honors or 
exemptions from duties to the state, but in social prestige 
they could not compare with the lowest hidalgo. Many of 
them became noble by royal favor, and especially was this 
way open to the learned class of the letrados. These men pro 
vided lawyers and administrative officers for the state, and, 
as such, occupied positions which put them on a level, at 
least in authority, with the nobles. The advance of the 
merchants and the letrados represented a gain for the ple 
beian class as a whole, for any free Christian might get to be 
one or the other and even become ennobled. The economic 
decline of Spain in the seventeenth century was a severe 
blow to the merchants, while the letrados were unpopular 
with nobles and plebeians alike; nevertheless, thoughtful 




men agreed that the regeneration of the country must come 
from these two elements. 

The masses were poor, as always, but their legal condition, 
except in Aragon, had been improved. There were many ment in 
social wars in Aragon throughout the period, but the serfs, tiie 
unable to act together, could not overcome their oppressors, 
Something was done by the kings through the incorporation 
into the crown of seigniorial estates where abuses were most 
pronounced. The same state of chronic warfare existed in 
Catalonia, where the rural population, though now freed 
from serfdom, was still subject to certain seigniorial rights. 
By the end of the period the victory of the plebeians was clear, 
and the ties which bound them to the lords were loosened. 
The social aspects of the civil wars in Castile, Valencia, and 
Majorca at the outset of the reign of Charles I have already 
been referred to. These revolts failed, and there were no 
similar great uprisings of the Christian masses in these 
regions, but the tendency of the nobility to go to court and 
the expulsion of the Moriscos were to operate to break down 
the survivals of seigniorial authority. 

Although objections were raised to the enslavement of the slavery. 
Indians in the Americas, the institution of slavery itself 
was generally recognized; even charitable and religious 
establishments possessed slaves. Moslem prisoners and 
negroes (acquired through war or purchase), together with 
their children, made up the bulk of this class, although 
there were some slaves of white race. Conversion to Chris 
tianity did not procure emancipation, but the slaves were 
allowed to earn something for themselves with which to 
purchase their freedom. Certain restrictions such, for 
example, as the prohibition against their living in quarters 
inhabited by newly converted Christians, or against their 
entering the guilds were placed upon them once they had 
become free. Only a little higher in status than the slaves The 
were the Egipcianos, or gypsies. About the middle of the gypsies* 
fifteenth century they had entered Spain for the first time 
by way of Catalonia, and, thenceforth, groups of them wan 
dered about the peninsula, stealing and telling fortunes for 
a living, and having a government of their own. A law of 


1499 required them to settle down in towns and ply honest 
trades on pain of expulsion from Spain or of enslavement, 
but the gypsies neither left Spain nor abandoned their 
nomadic ways, and they were a continual problem to the 
kings of the House of Austria. Various royal orders pro 
vided that they must take up an occupation, although their 
choice was virtually limited by law to the cultivation of the 
soil; they were not to live in the smaller villages, were 
forbidden to use their native language, dress, or names, or 
to employ their customs in marriage and other matters, and 
were prohibited from dwelling in a separate quarter of their 
own. Fear lest the Christian population become contami 
nated by gypsy superstitions and a regard for public security 
were the guiding motives for this legislation. Severe 
penalties were attached, but the evil was not eradicated; 
similar laws had to be enacted as late as the eighteenth 

Forced ^ After the time of the Catholic Kings there were no free 
conversion Mudejares in Castile, although there were many Moriscos, 
M^dL kut *& Aragon, Catalonia, and especially in Valencia the 
jares of Mudjares were numerous. Many elements, including the 
the king- majority of the clergy (the officers of the Inquisition in par- 
dom of ticular), the king, and the Christian masses were in favor 
of their forcible conversion with a view to the establishment 
of religious unity in the country, although other reasons 
were alleged as well. The nobles were warmly opposed, 
mainly on economic grounds because the Mudejares formed 
the principal element among their agricultural workers. 
Many of the higher clergy joined with them for the same 
reason, although some of them voiced their objections on 
the ground that compulsory baptism would only result in 
apostasy. During the social war in Valencia early in the 
reign of Charles I the popular faction had forcibly converted 
a number of the Mudejares who had fought against them 
on the side of the lords. The question arose whether these 
baptisms were valid. Charles decided that they were, 
and ordered the children of the Mudejares, who had thus 
unwillingly become Moriscos, to be baptized also. This 
provoked a storm of protest on the part of the lords, for the 


continuance of such a policy might result in emigrations or 
uprisings, much to their detriment. They cited the royal 
oath of Ferdinand and of Charles himself to the Cortes of 
Aragon not to compel the Mudejares to abjure their faith, 
but this difficulty was easily overcome. The pope was per 
suaded to absolve Charles from his oath, and gave his consent 
to the forcible conversion of the free Mud6jares, on pain of 
perpetual enslavement or expulsion from Spain. In 1525 
Charles published a decree in accordance with the terms of 
the papal license. The objections of the nobles and the 
Cortes were overruled, and several isolated rebellions were 
put down. While many Mudejares went to Africa, thou 
sands accepted conversion, and, although it was clear that 
they did not do so of their own free will, were at once made 
subject to the usual rules applying to converts, including 
the jurisdiction of the Inquisition. Soon afterward, how 
ever, Charles consented to exempt them from religious 
persecution for a number of years. 

The problem of religious unity was now officially solved; Failure of 
all Spain legally had become Christian. The Moriscos theat- 
were the subject of grave suspicions, however, as regards ^ a ?!? * 
their orthodoxy, and with reason, since most of them con- ize ^ 
turned to be Mohammedans in fact. The harsh legislation Moriacoe. 
of other days was resurrected, and was applied with even 
greater severity. Prohibitions extended to the use of any 
thing reminiscent of their former religion or customs, such 
as amulets, the Arabic language, Arabic names, their special 
form of dress, their characteristic songs and dances, and 
their habit of taking baths. The laws applying to Granada 
were particularly harsh, provoking the already mentioned 
war of 1568-1571. After the suppression of that rebellion 
and the deportation of the Granadine Moriscos to other 
parts of Castile, steps were taken to prevent their return 
and to keep them under surveillance. The Moriscos were 
not allowed to dwell together in a district of their own; 
they might not stay out overnight, or change their residence 
without permission ; and their children were ordered to be 
brought up in the homes of Christians of long standing, or 
at any rate to be sent to Christian schools. Prohibitions 


against carrying arms and other measures designed to pre-* 
vent the Moriscos from endangering the peace were general 
throughout Spain. Gradually the idea arose that the best 
thing to do would be to get rid of the Moriscos in some way. 
In the first place the attempt to convert them had been a 
failure. The Moriscos were not altogether to blame, for 
no adequate steps had been taken to instruct them in the 
Christian religion. Orders to do so had been issued, but for 
many reasons they were difficult to execute. Such a task 
would have been enormously expensive, and the funds were 
not at hand ; few Christian priests were competent to serve 
as instructors, since not many of them knew Arabic ; there 
existed the serious obstacle of the hatred of the Moriscos 
for the Christian religion, due to the bad treatment they had 
received and their fear of the Inquisition; and the nobles 
threw the weight of their influence against molesting the 
Moriscos in this way as in others. In the second place, the 
very hatred of the Christian masses for the Moriscos had 
rendered their conversion difficult. Some of the charges 
made against them would seem to indicate that prejudice 
was the real foundation of this animosity. It was said that 
the Moriscos ate so little meat and drank so little wine that 
Christians had to pay nearly all of the alcabala, or the tax 
on their sale ; they were denounced because they monopolized 
the industrial arts and trades, to the disadvantage of Chris 
tians; complaints were made that they always married, 
never becoming monks, wherefore their numbers increased 
more rapidly than those of the Christian population. Thus 
their frugality, industry, and domesticity were made the 
subject of accusations. Naturally there were more serious 
grounds of complaint than these, such as the inevitable 
private conflicts of old Christians and Moriscos, but dif 
ferences in race, religion, and general customs were enough to 
cause popular hatred in that day, when intolerance was the 
rule. In the third place, it must be said in measurable 
justification of Spanish policy that the Moriscos did repre 
sent a danger to the state. They were numerous, and, natu 
rally enough, hostile to the government; time and again 
they were proved to have fostered or taken part in uprisings 


and to have worked in conjunction with Moslem pirates ; 
finally, the likelihood of a fresh Moslem descent from Africa, 
assisted by Spanish Moriscos, was not to be disregarded. 

The failure of the attempts to convert the Moriscos had Expulsion 
long been recognized, and the question arose what to do with ?J. *^ e 
them. Some men proposed a general massacre, or sending Monscos 
them to sea and scuttling the ships. Others suggested that 
they be sent to the Americas to work in the mines, a solu 
tion which might have had interesting consequences. From 
about 1582, however, the idea of expelling them from Spain 
became more and more general, and was favored by men of 
the highest character, for example, by Juan de Ribera, 
archbishop of Valencia (canonized in the eighteenth cen 
tury). The expulsion was virtually decided upon as early 
as 1602, but the decrees were postponed for several years. 
In September, 1609, the expulsion from Valencia was ordered. 
All Moriscos except certain specified groups were required 
to be at various designated ports within three days; they 
were allowed to carry such movable property as they could, 
while the rest of their possessions was to go to their lords, 
a sop to the nobles, for whom the expulsion meant great 
economic loss ; they were informed that they would be taken 
to Africa free of charge, but were told to carry as much food 
as they could. Six per cent of the Morisco men and their 
families were excepted by the decree, so that they might 
instruct the laborers who should take the place of the ex 
pelled Moriscos. Various other groups, such as slaves, 
small children (under certain specified conditions), and those 
whose conversion was regarded as unquestionably sincere, 
were also exempted. The Moriscos were unwilling to avail 
themselves of the exceptions in their favor, and a general 
exodus began. The decree was cruelly executed, despite 
the government s attempt to prevent it. Murder, robbery, 
and outrages against women went unpunished; even the 
soldiers sent to protect the Moriscos were guilty of these 
abuses. Many Moriscos were sold into slavery, especially 
children, who were taken from their parents, When news 
came that the peoples of northern Africa had given a harsh 
reception to the first of the Moriscos to disembark there, 



Failure of 
the expul 
sions to 
stamp out 
in Spanish 

many preferred to take the chances of revolt rather than 
submit to expulsion, but these uprisings were easily put down. 
Decrees for the other parts of Spain soon followed ; the de 
cree for Castile proper, Extremadura, and La Mancha came 
in the same year, 1 609 ; for Granada, Andalusia, and Aragon 
in 1610 ; and for Catalonia and Murcia in 1611, although the 
execution of the decree for Murcia was postponed until 1614. 
The terms of all, while varying in details, resembled that of 
Valencia. More time was given, usually a month ; the per 
mission to carry away personalty was accompanied by a 
prohibition against the taking of money or precious metals ; 
and in some cases all children under seven were required to 
remain in Spain when their parents elected to go to Africa. 
On this account many Moriscos made the voyage to Africa 
by way of France, on the pretence that they were going to 
the latter country, thus retaining theii children. 

Various estimates have been made as to the number of 
the expelled Moriscos. It is probable that some half a mil 
lion were obliged to emigrate. Many remained in Spain, 
forming outlaw bands in the mountains, or hiding under the 
protection of their lords, while thousands had long since 
merged with the Christian population. Almost from the 
start a current of re-immigration set in, for, after all, the 
Moriscos had in many respects become Spaniards, and they 
found that conditions in the lands to which they had gone 
were far from agreeable. Throughout the seventeenth 
century laws were enacted against returning Moriscos, but 
were of such little effect that the government virtually ad 
mitted its powerlessness in the matter. Southern Spain 
and the east coast below Catalonia remained strongly 
Moslem in blood, and the other provinces of the peninsula 
were not a little affected as well, but as regards religion the 
Morisco element was gradually merged, and this matter 
never became a serious problem again. Similar questions 
arose over returning Jews, who came back to Spain for much 
the same reasons the Moriscos did. They were not nearly 
so numerous, however, wherefore their return did not rep 
resent such a political danger as did that of the Moriscos. 

The legal status of the family underwent no 


change In this period, except that the victory of Roman Influence 
principles was more and more confirmed. The decisions of of Roman 
the Council of Trent (1545-1563), a famous general council J^J 
of the Catholic Church, prohibited divorce, clandestine s titutions 
marriage, and in general any kind of marital union not made of the 
according to the solemnities and forms of the church, and family and 
these principles became law in Spain, but they represented P nvat j 
tendencies which had long before appeared in the Partidas prope y * 
and the Leyes de Toro. Unions lacking the sanction of the 
law did not disappear ; rather they were one of the promi 
nent features of the immorality of the times. It was in its 
economic aspects that the family experienced its most 
marke4 change, and this was due to the exceptional favor 
with which the institution of primogeniture had come to be 
viewed, keeping pace with the vanity and the furor for 
ennoblement of the age. The very extension of the practice 
was its saving grace, for not only the great nobles but also 
persons of lesser note, including plebeians with not too 
vast estates, were wont to leave their properties to the eldest 
son; thus accumulation in the hands of a very few was 
avoided. For the same reason the crown often favored the 
custom for the smaller holdings, but restricted it in the case 
of the latif undia, for example, in the prohibition issued 
against the combining of two such great estates. The in 
dividualism and capitalism of the Roman law was most 
marked of all in matters of property. One interesting 
attempt was made to get around the laws against usury 
through the purchase of annuities, the censo consignatiw. 
Popular opinion, reinforced by the ideas of the moralists 
and jurisconsults and even by a bull of the pope, opposed 
the practice, and it did not survive. Despite the supremacy 
of the Roman ideas there were many writings of a socialistic 
character citing the collectivism of the Peruvian Incas or 
other such states of society as desirable of adoption in 
Spain. The philosopher Luis Vives, for example, favored a 
redistribution of natural resources and their equal enjoyment 
by all. 

While the law frowned upon the spirit of association, even 
prohibiting the founding of new cof radios, the guilds enjoyed i 


Evolution their greatest era of prosperity. This was due in part to the 
of the intervention of the state, which supplanted the municipalities 
^ in control of the institution. State regulation, even in 

technical matters, went further than it had in the fifteenth 
century. Despite government interest, as evidenced by 
the according of numerous privileges, the germs of the decline 
of the guilds were already apparent at the close of the seven 
teenth century. The exclusive spirit of the guilds whereby 
they endeavored to keep trade in the hands of their own 
members and their families, without admitting others who 
were competent to belong, was one cause of this decline, 
while their loss of liberty (due to government intervention) 
and the strife within and without the guild were contributing 
factors. One novelty of the era was the growing distinction 
between the manual arts and the liberal professions, the 
latter of which rose to a higher consideration. Thus lawyers, 
notaries, and doctors were rated above those engaged in 
manual labors, while there was also a recognized hierarchy 
among the last-named, from the workers in gold, silver, 
jewelry, and rich cloths down to the drivers of mules. The 
great association of the Mesta still enjoyed wide powers, as 
did also that of the carriers. 

Low moral In laxness of morals and in luxury this period was much 
tone of the \\fcg the two preceding. It seems worse, but this may be 
era * due to the greater variety of materials at hand for study, 

such as books of travel, novels, plays, satires, letters, laws, 
and the frequently appearing "relations of events," which 
in that day took the place occupied by the modern news 
paper. A Spanish writer has characterized the practices 
of the time in the following language: "The ideal of an 
exaggerated sense of honor, chivalric quixotism, religious 
fanaticism, and the exalted predominance of form over the 
essence of things ruled Spanish society of the seventeenth 
century, absolutely and tyrannically. Duels and stabbings 
at every moment to sustain the least question of etiquette 
or courtesy; scandalous conflicts of jurisdiction between 
the highest tribunals of state ; absurd and ridiculous proj 
ects to make silver without silver, fomented by the leading 
ministers; extremely costly and showy feasts to solemnize 


ordinary events, while cities, islands, provinces, and even 
kingdoms were being lost through bad government and 
worse administration; frequent and pompous public pro 
cessions ; blind belief in the miraculous virtue of some medal, 
stamp, or old rag of Mother Luisa or some other impostor; 
politico-religious sermons within and without the royal 
palace ; the most abominable and nefarious sins scattered 
to an almost unbelievable extent among all classes of Madrid 
society; the vice of gambling converted into a profession 
by many persons ; and, in fine, the censure of our court, by 
those who formed part of it and by those who did not, for 
its astonishing abundance and its depraved life of strumpets 
and wenches. . . It is true that there were men of high 
degree who preferred the coarse sackcloth of the religious 
to the rich clothing of brocade and gold, and military leaders 
who exchanged the sword for the monkish girdle, but these 
were exceptions, which by the very fewness of their numbers 
stand out the more strongly from the general stock of that 
society, so accustomed to laziness, hypocrisy, routine, and 
external practices as it was, removed from the true paths of 
virtue, wisdom, and progress." If to these characteristics 
there are added those of the misery and ignorance of the 
common people, and if an exception is made of the men de 
voted to intellectual pursuits, the above is fairly representa 
tive of Spanish society in this period. Loose practices were 
prevalent in excessive degree at Madrid, which had become 
the capital in the time of Philip II. While such a state of 
affairs is not unusual in all great capitals, immorality infected 
all classes of society in Madrid, and little if any stigma at 
tached in the matter. Philip IV had thirty-two illegitimate 
children, and Charles I and even the somewhat sombre 
Philip II were not without reproach. Much that is unspeak 
able was prevalent, and gambling was generally indulged in. 
Lack of discipline also manifested itself in frequent duelling, 
despite prohibitive laws, and in the turbulence of the people 
on different occasions; university students were somewhat 
notorious in this respect, indulging in riots which were not 
free from incidents of an unsavory character. Other cities 
were little better than Madrid, and those of the south and 


east, where Moslem blood had been most plentiful,, es 
pecially Seville and Valencia, had a yet worse reputation ; 
Valencia had even a European notoriety for its licentious 
customs. These practices passed over into the Americas 
in an exaggerated form. The Andalusian blood of the con 
querors and their adventurous life amidst subject races 
were not conducive to self-restraint. These evils were not 
to be without effect in the moulding of the Spanish American 
peoples. In the smaller Spanish towns and villages there 
was probably less vice, but there was more ignorance and 
greater lack of public security. Bands of robbers infested 
the country. 

Boyal In luxury as in immorality the example was set by the 

extrava- kings themselves. Some of its manifestations were meri- 
gajlce * torioui. (except that expenditures were out of proportion 
to the resources and needs of the state), especially the en 
couragement of art through the purchase of paintings and 
the construction of palaces. But if Charles I and Philip II 
were lavish, Philip III and Philip IV were extravagant. 
Both of these kings, in addition to their fondness for the 
theatre, bull-fighting, dancing, and hunting, were responsible 
for the most ostentatious display on occasions of court cele 
brations. When Philip III went to San Sebastian in 1615 
to attend the double wedding which was to bind together 
the houses of Austria and Bourbon, he was accompanied 
by a train of 74 carriages, 174 litters, 190 state coaches, 
2750 saddle mules, 374 beasts of burden (of which 128 had 
coverings embroidered with the royal coat of arms), 1750 
mules with silver bells, and 6500 persons, besides an escort 
of 4000 Guipuzcoans. Equal pomp and extravagance 
marked the reception to the Archduchess Maria Ana of 
Austria when she came to Spain as the fiancee of Philip 3V ; 
similarly, the entertainment accorded the Prince of Wales 
(the later Charles I of England) and the Duke of Buckingham 
when they visited Spain early in the reign of Philip IV; 
and likewise the various masquerades during the period of 
Olivares, one of which is said to have cost over 300,000 ducats 
(nearly $5,000,000). It would seem that war was not alone 
responsible for the drains on the Spanish treasury. There 


was a decline in expenditures in the reign of Charles II, due 
principally to the fact that there was little left to spend. 

Private individuals could not equal the kings in extra va- Luxury I* 
gance, but they did the best they could. Houses often lacked general, 
comforts in the way of furniture, but made a brave showing 
in tapestries and paintings. Naturally, great attention was 
paid to dress. Under Charles I, just as in art, so also in dress, Dress 
clothing was in a stage which may be called the transition 
from the "plateresque" to the "Spanish Renaissance." 
For example, influenced by German and Swiss fashions, 
men wore puffs on their forearm or between the waist and 
hips, variegated oblong pieces in their jackets, bright colors 
generally, and a tall conical hat. In keeping with the 
greater sobriety of Philip II, styles became "Herreran" in 
that the puffs were abandoned, obscure colors replaced gay, 
and a cap superseded its more pretentious predecessor. 
Philip III inaugurated the " baroque" in dress with a return 
to the styles of Charles I, but in an exaggerated form. 

Men were much given to sports and outings. The duel as Sports 
a sport passed out at the beginning of the era, and jousts 
and tourneys lost their vogue by the end of the sixteenth 
century, but a host of new games took their place, such 
as equestrian contests of skill in the use of reed spears, 
lances, or pikes, but, more than all, the game which has ever 
since gripped Spanish interest, the bull-fight. Dances, 
parties, excursions, picnics, and masquerades were also in 
high favor. Dancing on the stage had a tendency to be 
indecent, so much so, that it had to be prohibited. To 
bacco was introduced from America at this time. Bathing General 
was unpopular, partly because of the stigma attaching to BOCIB! 
that hygienic practice as a result of Moslem indulgence customK 
therein, but it was also the subject of attacks by writers on 
ethics, who complained of the immoral uses to which bath 
houses were put. Public celebrations of feast days and car 
nivals were characterized by exhibitions of rough horse-play 
which were far removed from modern refinement. People 
considered it amusing to empty tiny baskets of ashes on 
one another, to trip up passers-by with a rope across the 
street, to put a lighted rag or a piece of punk in a horse s 


ear, to pin an animal s tail or some other unseemly object 
on a woman s dress, to loose harmless snakes or rats in a 
crowd, to drop filthy waters on passers-by in the streets 
below, and to hurl egg-shells full of odorous essences at one 
another, varying the last-named missile with what the 
present-day American school-boy knows as the "spitball." 
These were not the acts of children, but of ladies and gentle 
men! Nevertheless, there was a beginning of refinement 
in table manners. Napkins were introduced, first as an 
unnecessary luxury, and later more generally, replacing 
the use of the table cloth ! It also became a polite custom 
to wash one s hands before eating. The same progress is 
to be noted in another respect; Charles I indulged in the 
somewhat "plateresque" custom of kissing all ladies who 
were presented to him at court ; Philip II in true " Herreran " 
style gave it up. 

Bad care Cities were badly cared for. Barcelona, Madri3, and 
of cities. Seville were alone in being paved. Uncleanly human prac 
tices, despite efforts to check them, led to the accumulation 
of filth and odors in the streets, and this condition was not 
remedied, although there were officials charged with the 
duty of street-cleaning. No city had a lighting system 
worthy of the name ; in Madrid the only street lights were 
the faintly glimmering candles or lamps which were placed 
before sacred images. All Europe exhibited the same social 
defects as those which have just been detailed, but Spain 
seemed reduced more than other countries to a state of 
poverty and misery, displaying every manifestation of 
mortal decay. 



Two outstanding features marked the history of Spanish The estab 
political institutions in the era of the House of Hapsburg, Hshment 
or Austria : the absolutism of the kings ; and the develop- 
ment of a modern bureaucratic machinery. The Hapsburgs 
did not introduce absolutism into Spam, but, rather, suc 
ceeded to a system which the efforts of their predecessors, 
especially the Catholic Kings, had made possible. Never 
theless, it was hi this period that the kings, aided by greater 
resources than former Spanish monarchs had possessed, by 
the prestige of ruling the most extensive and powerful 
dominions in the world, and by the predominantly royalist 
ideas of the age, including the theory of divine right, were 
able for the first time to direct the affairs of state much as 
they chose. To be sure, they were still supposed to respect 
the laws and to rule for the good of their subjects, but in 
practice it was left to them to interpret their own conduct. 
Instances have already been given of Charles Fs infringe 
ments of the law, for example, in his employment of 
Flemish favorites. He also introduced a system of personal 
rule, making himself the head and centre of all governmental 
action. It was Philip II, however, who carried the ideal of 
personal rule to the greatest extreme. Suspicion and direct 
intervention in state affairs were the basic principles of his 
government, wherefore he gave no man his full confidence, 
but tried to do as much as he could himself. ^If the methods 
of Phi}jpJ^^he^Ba<)ot "bweattieratte itmg IiThistory, often 
had unfortunate results^ for example, in , the case, of 
preipaxing the famous Armada, those of his successors 
------ - 287 




siveness of 
the Castil- 
ian Cortes. 

- far-mom disastrous: Under Philip III and Philip IV 
the royal authority was granted to favorites, while the power 
of Charles II had necessarily to be exercised most of the time 
by some other than the feeble-minded king himself. Thus 
these reigns were a period of continual intriguing by different 
factions for the king s confidence, in order that the victors 
might rule Spain for their own enrichment. 

At first sight it would seem that the kings were not success 
ful in their policy of centralization. It was hardly to be 
expected that the dominions outside the peninsula could be 
brought under the same sytem of law and custom as governed 
in Castile, and the case was much the same as regards 
Portugal when that kingdom was added to the monarchy. 
With respect to the rest of the peninsula, however, Olivares 
expressed what was at least a desirable ideal, when he wished 
to bring about an amalgamation on the Castilian pattern, 
both in law and in common sentiment, of the dominions of 
the crown. Some changes were in fact made which tended 
to promote legal unification, but in essentials the ancient 
customs of Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and the 
Basque provinces were left undisturbed. It is possible that 
the merger might have been attempted with safety at almost 
any time before 1640, when Olivares tried it, quite 
probably so in the sixteenth century. That it was not under 
taken may have been due to the attention given to foreign 
wars, but in any event the autonomy of the non-Castilian 
kingdoms of the monarchy was more apparent than real. 
The nobility and many of the people were intensely royalist, 
and even when they were not so in principle they supported 
the kings because, like them, they were profoundly Catholic, 
Furthermore, the organization representing the old regime 
had declined internally to such an extent that it was a mere 
shadow of its former self. Centralization had in fact been 
going on without process of law, and for that very reason it 
was easy in the next period to make it legally effective. 

Nowhere was the absolutism of the kings more manifest 
than hi their dealings with the Castilian Cortes. The prin 
cipal functions of this body had always been to grant or 
withhold subsidies and to make petitions, which the kings 


might, or might not, enact into law. In this period the 
deputies were so submissive that they never failed to grant 
the required subsidy, despite the exhaustion of the country, 
while their petitions received scant attention. Under the 
circumstances, since the grant of a subsidy by the repre 
sentatives of the towns was now the only reason for calling 
a Cortes, the nobles and the clergy were not always summoned. 
Charles I encountered some resistance of the Cortes in the 
early part of his reign, but in later years the kings expe 
rienced no serious difficulty. The deputies themselves lost 
interest, and not infrequently sold their privilege of at 
tendance to some individual who might even be a non 
resident of the town he was to represent. The kings pro 
cured the right to appoint many of the deputies, or else issued 
orders to the towns, directing them how to instruct their 
delegates, and also gave pensions to the deputies, thus in 
suring the expression of their own will in the meetings of 
the Cortes. It is not strange that the Cortes was called 
frequently, forty-four times down to 1665. In 1665 the 
function of granting subsidies was given directly to the towns, 
with the result that no Cortes was held in the entire reign 
of Charles II. The various other Cortes of the peninsula 
were more fortunate than that of Castile. Those of the Cornpaxa- 
kingdom of Aragon (Aragon proper, Catalonia, and Valencia) tiveinde- 
had always participated more than that of Castile in legis- Prudence 
lation, and had been more prone to voice their grievances. ^^ 
The calling of a Cortes in these regions involved difficulties, Cortes. 
especially in Valencia, where the king was obliged to be 
present, in order to constitute a legal meeting. The need 
for funds was such, however, that a number of Cortes were 
summoned, seventeen in Aragon, thirteen in Catalonia, 
fourteen in Valencia, and seventy-three in Navarre, but 
the kings did not obtain a great deal from them. Often 
the delegates refused to make a grant, or else gave so little 
that it hardly covered the expenses of the king s journey to 
the place of meeting. No effort was made to join these 
bodies with that of Castile to form a national Cortes; the 
force of particularism was as yet too strong to attempt it. 
Just as in the case of the Castilian Cortes, so also in that 



vience of 
the towns 
to the 
royal wilL 

tance of 


of the towns, the absolutism of the kings made itself felt to 
a marked degree, for the way had been prepared in previous 
reigns, and in this instance the royal authority was equally 
as noteworthy in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca 
as in Castile. This was brought about principally through 
the decline of the towns in political spirit, a movement which 
had been going on since the fourteenth century. As a result 
the ayuntamientos had usurped the powers which formerly 
belonged to the general assembly of citizens, and now their 
functions became absorbed more and more by the kings 
through their officials in the towns, such as the corregidores 
and others. So great was the authority of the kings that 
they were able to make a profit for the treasury by the sale 
in perpetuity of local offices, and when the evils which re 
sulted became too pronounced they gave orders abolishing all 
such positions acquired before 1630. Furthermore, all local 
legislation of an important character had to receive the 
sanction of the Consejo Real. Much the same local officials 
as in the past administered the affairs of the municipalities, 
and the methods of their acquisition of office continued to 
be diverse, being in some towns by election, in others by lot, 
in still others by inheritance, and in yet others by royal ap* 
pointment ; but in all of the large royal towns (realengos) the 
king s authority was paramount. In fine, local autonomy was 
virtually dead, although the forms of the period when the 
towns were a virile political factor still persisted. In two 
classes of municipalities the royal victory was not complete. 
One was that of the small villages, where the system of the 
medieval villa, or concejo, obtained, but since these units 
were of small consequence the retention of their earlier 
liberties had little or no effect on the general situation. The 
other was that of the seigniorial towns, most of them in 
Aragon, Catalonia, and Navarre, where the struggles of past 
eras, of the citizens against the lords, were repeated in this. 
With the advance both in royal authority and in the scope 
and extension of government it was inevitable that the new 
bureaucracy, which had made its appearance in the modem 
sense under the Catholic Kings, should increase in the num 
ber of its officials and in power until it absorbed a great part 


of the functions which the kings themselves had formerly 
exercised in person. Aside from the royal secretaries, the 
governor-generals (during the absence of the king), regents, 
and members of the various administrative groups there 
were often individuals without portfolios who exercised 
great power as private counselors of the king. Some of the 
members of the Consejo Real were also prominent in this 
extra-official way. The importance of the royal secretaries, 
of whom there were always more than one, was notably 
great in this period. Whenever one of them became the 
favorite, the others were nevertheless retained, grouping 
themselves around the one who had the ear of the king. 
The office of the latter became a universal bureau and 
secretariat of state (Secretarfa de Estado y del Despacho 
Universal), presiding over the others. 

Meanwhile, the Consejo Reed advanced in power, and new Power of 
councils were added. The most notable reform in the 
Consejo Real was its division in 1608 into four sections, or 
solas, respectively of government (Gobierno), justice (Jus- 
ticia), "fifteen hundred" (Mil y quinientos), and the prov 
inces (Provintia). The last three had to do with affairs 
of justice, while the Sola de Gobierno, the most important 
of the four, was supposed to concern itself mainly with 
politics and administration. Nevertheless, the variety of 
functions which had always characterized the Consejo as a 
whole applied in like manner to each of the salas. Thus 
the Sola de Gobierno handled such widely divergent matters 
as the extirpation of vice and sin, the economic development 
of the country, the decision in cases of conflict of laws or 
jurisdictions, cases of recourse of fuerza, the cleaning and 
improvement of Madrid, questions of peace and war, to 
gether with a great number of others. Moreover, many of 
its functions were judicial in character. Important affairs, 
especially those on which the king requested advice, were 
taken up by the Consejo in full (en pleno), that is, by a 
joint meeting of the four salas. While the Consejo had been 
in origin a purely consultive body, it now acquired the privi 
lege of making suggestions to the king of its own volition 
and of indicating its objections to any measures he might 


have taken. It was natural that the decisions, or autos, of the 
Consejo should have great weight, both as affecting matters 
of justice, and as concerned government and administration 
in general, since the Consejo might make new laws and annul 
or dispense with old ones, although of course consulting with 
the king before publishing its decision. The autos of the 
Consejo became, therefore, an important source of legislation, 
and in 1552 it was decided that they should have the same 
force as the laws of the king himself. Late in the sixteenth 
century it became customary to call the Consejo the Consejo 
de Castillo, (Council of Castile), by which name, henceforth, it 
was more generally known. 

Impor- In like manner other councils were formed (in addition 

tanceof to those dating from the era of the Catholic Kings) which 
J?f relieved the monarch of many of his responsibilities. The 

most important was the Consejo de la Real Cdmara (Council 
of the Royal Chamber), more often called the Cdmara de 
Castilla, or simply the Cdmara. This was founded by Philip 
II in 1588 to assist him in handling such matters as the 
kings had always retained for themselves, apart from the 
Consejo Real, such as questions arising in connection with 
the patronato real, or royal patronage, of the church and 
appointments generally to the various councils, audiendas, 
and other important posts in Castilian administration. 
Men of the highest character were chosen to compose the 
Cdraara, and secrecy as to their discussions was imposed 
upon them. In 1616 the Cdjnara advanced a step further, 
in that certain affairs such as pardons for crime, au 
thorizations for entailing estates in primogeniture, the 
naturalization of foreigners, and the removal of civil and 
political disabilities from individuals subject to them 
were left for it to resolve without consulting the king. The 
king still intervened in the more important matters. Among 
the new councils of the era were those of finance (Hacienda), 
war (Guerra), and indulgences (Cruzada), all of Castilian 

The expansion of officialdom in the peninsula made its 
presence felt in the judiciary as elsewhere. The three judi 
cial solas of the Consejo Real and in some cases the Sola de 


Gobierno as well became the fountain-head of justice, under Expansion 
the king. This was especially true of the full Consejo, which of tiie . 
met weekly. This body also named special judges, such as royal judi- 
m&itadores, both to procure information for the Consejo and Clary " 
to inspect the tribunals of lower grade. The number of 
andiendas was increased until there were five in the penin 
sula and one each in Majorca and the Canary Islands, be 
sides a number in the Americas. 1 Below these was the 
hierarchy of the lesser officials. There were still various 
outstanding jurisdictions, such as those of the towns, the 
military orders, the Inquisition, and the church, but one of 
the keynotes of the era was the advance of the royal courts 
at the expense of the others. The administration of justice 
left much to be desired, however. As a result of the wars 
and civil conflicts and the general state of misery and lack 
of discipline, public security was almost non-existent. 
Banditry and crime went unsuppressed, and legislation 
served for little in the face of the corruption of officials and 
the lack of means to make the laws effective. 

Frequent references have already been made to the des- Vastaesa 
perate state of Spanish finances in the era of the House of 
Austria and to its importance as an ultimate factor affecting 
Spanish dominion in the Americas. Vast sums were ex- 
pended for political and military ends, the only compensa 
tions for which were extensions of territory and power and 
a satisfaction of the desire for glory, without reflecting them 
selves in an increase of public wealth, the well-being of Span- 
iard$, or even in commercial advantage; on the contrary, 
economic development was checked or hindered by the con 
tinual wars in which the kings engaged. Expenditures 
very greatly increased over what they had been before. It 
will be sufficient to explain this if some comment is made on 
two noteworthy objects to which state revenues were de 
voted : the maintenance of the court ; and the cost of the 
wars. The ordinary expenses of the royal family jumped 
under Charles I to about 150,000 ducats ($2,250,000) a year, 
more than ten times the amount required by the Catholic 

1 The two most important, those of Valladolid and Granada, 
were distinguished from the others by being called chancitterias* 



dous in 
crease in 
in Castile. 

Kings. To this should be added the vast sums granted to 
the princes; in 1550 Philip (the later Philip II) received 
55,000 ducats (over $800,000) in the course of four months. 
The expenditures of the court constantly increased. In 
1562 the ordinary court expenses amounted to 415,000 
ducats (well over" $6,000,000), and under Philip III they 
were 1,300,000 (nearly $20,000,000) annually. In addition 
there were the fiestas (festivities) and royal marriages, on 
which tremendous sums were squandered. As for military 
expenditures the war in Flanders alone consumed 37,488,565 
ducats (nearly $600,000,000) in the space of eleven years, 
1598 to 1609, and other campaigns were costly in proportion, 

and this in spite of the fact that supplies were often not 
provided and salaries were left unpaid, leading to tumults 
on the part of the soldiery. To gain an adequate idea of 
the vastness of these sums one must bear in mind, not only 
the greater purchasing power of money in that day and the 
comparatively small population of the peninsula, especially 
the small number of taxpayers, but also the fact that the 
resources of the Spanish state then were as little, as compared 
with those of the present day, as they were great in com 
parison with those of medieval Spain. 

It is no wonder that the people through their representa 
tives in the Cortes began to ask for peace and the termination 
of military adventures, even in the period when victories 
were frequent; the nobles also favored an end of the wars, 

when the kings endeavored to get them, too, to grant a 
subsidy. One result of the greater financial requirements 
of the state was an increase in taxation, both in the collection 
of the existing taxes at a higher rate, and in the imposition 
of new ones. The grants, or sermtios, of the Castilian 
Cortes were frequent and large in amount. In 1538 there 
appeared the new tax of the millones, so-called because it 
was calculated in millions of ducats. This was an excise on 
articles of prime necessity, meat, wine, oil, and vinegar. 
It was extended soon to powder, lead, sulphur, red ochre, 
vermilion, sealing-wax, and playing cards, which together 
were called the siete rentUlas (seven little rents). Salt, 
gold, silver, mercury, and many other materials were the 


subject of a state monopoly, and to them were added in the 
reign of Philip IV the monopoly on tobacco, which was to 
prove an exceptionally profitable source of revenue. The 
diezmo and cruzada (otherwise Bida) continued to be col 
lected from the church, together with several new rents 
which were authorized by the pope. One of these was the 
subsidio de galeras (subsidy of the galleys), or galeras, so- 
called because it was theoretically designed to assist in the 
expenses of the galleys used in fighting the Moslem peoples. 
This was granted in 1561, and consisted of an annual sub 
sidy of 420,000 ducats (over $6,000,000). The akabala and 
the various customs duties were increased. Stamp taxes 
were extended to new types of documents. The nobles 
were required to pay a tax called lanzas (lances) in lieu of 
military service. Various offices and titles were made sub 
ject to the media anata (half annates), a discount of a half 
year s salary, or rents, in the first year of enjoyment. The 
transmission of a title of nobility to one s heir was also taxed. 
Vanity was seized upon as likely to yield a revenue, and 
money was collected in return for the privilege of using the 
word Don" before one s Christian name. In like manner 
illegitimate children were pronounced legitimate on payment 
of a specified sum. Other methods were employed to obtain 
ready cash which tended ultimately to dry up certain 
sources of revenue : the coinage was debased ; portions of 
the government rents were disposed of; public offices and 
royal towns were granted in perpetuity; and the title of 
hidalgo was sold to many persons, who thereby entered the 
non-taxpaying class. Other ways of acquiring funds were 
made use of, ranging from the high-handed to the shameless. 
Under the name of donativos (gifts) the government resorted 
to forced loans, or even trickery, to exact money from the 
nobles and churchmen; confiscations of goods for offences 
against religion and for other delinquencies were frequently 
ordered ; and most disgusting of all was the limosna al rey 
(alms for the king), which was collected by gentlemen of 
the court, each accompanied by a parish priest and a friar, in 
a house to house canvass of the citizens, who were asked to 
give what they could spare. If the kings and their favorites 



Taxes in 

the other 

Growth of 




thought of the most obvious way to accumulate funds, econ 
omy in expenditures, they at least did not try to put it into 
practice ; the court fiestas were held, even if the king s gentle 
men had to beg the money and the nation had to starve. 

The above refers to taxes collected in Castile, but the 
other dominions of Spain, peninsula and otherwise, pro 
duced considerable amounts for the state. Aragon, Cata 
lonia, and Valencia yielded much less than Castile. The 
Low Countries were profitable for a time; Charles I pro 
cured 450,000 ducats a year (nearly 87,000,000) at the 
outset of his reign. Under Philip II, however, they were 
the scene of heavy expenditures. The Americas have often 
been considered as the principal financial resort of the Spanish 
kings, and although this is not certain and may even be 
doubtful they did yield vast sums. Prior to the conquest of 
Mexico the annual revenues were only some 70,000 ducats 
(about $1,000,000), but the conquests of Cortes, followed 
soon by those of Pizarro in Peru, resulted in an enormous 
increase. Under Philip II they amounted annually to about 
1,200,000 ($18,000,000) according to some writers, and to 
as much as 2,000,000 ($30,000,000) in the opinion of 
others. Castilian taxes were applied in the new world, 
together with certain others arising out of the special cir 
cumstances of colonial affairs, such as the royal fifth on pre 
cious metals from the mines and the poll tax collected from 
the Indians. Data are not at hand for an accurate estimate 
of the entire revenues of Spain, but it seems clear that they 
increased enormously in the period. They may have reached 
their highest point under Philip III, when it was estimated 
that they were some 24,000,000 ducats ($360,000,000) a year, 
of which not more than half reached the Spanish treasury. 
An estimate made toward the close of the century gave the 
revenues as about 17,750,000 ($270,000,000), of which only 
a third was actually available. 

Despite these relatively great sums the national debt was 
a constant factor, and advanced greatly in amount under 
Philip II, who is said to have left a debt of 100,000,000 ducats 
($1,500,000,000). This was reduced in later reigns, but 
was still 70,000,000 (well over $1,000,000,000) in 1690, 


a huge sum as national debts went then, even though credi 
tors were frequently scaled down or not paid at all. One 
of the important elements in the debt was that of the loans 
made by Flemish, German, and Italian bankers, especially 
those of Genoa. The frequency with which these loans 
were sought and the high rate of interest required have caused 
Spain to be characterized, with accuracy, as a mere bridge 
over which the wealth of the Americas (and, to be sure, 
that of the peninsula itself) passed to other nations as in 
terest and part payment of the nation s debts. In 1539 
this form of indebtedness amounted to about 1,000,000 
ducats ($15,000,000), and in 1560, some 7,000,000 (over 
$100,000,000). When the Spanish kings were unable to 
pay a note that had become due, as much as 33f per cent 
might be charged for its renewal ; indeed, the ordinary rate 
of interest ranged from 15 to 30 per cent. The inability 
of Philip II to meet his obligations caused all but the Genoese 
bankers to refuse him credit, and they joined with the others 
when he suspended the payment of interest on their notes. 
Unable to get funds in any other way, Philip surrendered 
to the Genoese, who exacted as part payment for fresh loans 
a share in various revenues of the Spanish state, such as in 
that of the salt monopoly and in certain of the taxes collected 
from the church, thus belying the original object for which 
the latter had been imposed. The Cortes, though it had 
declined in other respects, was perhaps the most important 
organ of public finance. It not only voted subsidies but also 
collected them, a function which it had exercised in previous 
eras. It had charge of several other taxes as well, such as 
the productive alcabala and the millones. For these pur 
poses special committees of the Cortes were formed. Never 
theless, the Consejo de Hacienda, founded in 1593, grew 
rapidly in functions and in power, and by the close of the 
seventeenth century is said to have had over 60,000 employes. 
This vast number was due in part to the variety in the origin 
and character of the various tributes. Without taking into 
consideration the inevitable accompaniment of graft, such 
a horde of officials involved the state in a heavy cost for the 
collection and administration of the revenues. 



army in 
the days 
of its 

The principal element in the Spanish army was the volun 
teer soldiery in the king s pay. Foreign mercenaries were 
obtained for stated lengths of time or for specific campaigns, 
but Spaniards enlisted for indefinite service, and thi^ be 
came the veterans of the army. Military life was popular 
during the sixteenth century and the early part of the 
seventeenth, and the army abounded in hidalgos and others 
of yet higher rank who did not disdain to serve as privates. 
Later the number of Spanish recruits grew less, when the 
state began to fail in its regularity of payments, and their 
withdrawal marked the era when defeats became frequent. 
Among the noteworthy changes in tactics was the appearance 
of the regiment. Firearms had now come into general use, 
and cannon were greatly improved, but it was the pikemen 
of the Spanish infantry who formed the principal branch of 
the army until near the close of the period. Because of the 
inferiority of their weapons the troops with firearms were 
regarded as a mere auxiliary to the pikemen. Armies were 
small ; 20,000 to 40,000 men was perhaps the usual rule. 
Even in the century of Spain s greatness many lands were 
left without garrison, as occurred nearly always in the case 
of the Americas ; one report of the period of Charles I stated 
that there was not a port in the colonies which could resist 
an attack of three hundred men. The worst evils in connec 
tion with the army were those of bad administration and a 
lack of regularity in paying the troops and in remitting funds 
for munitions and other supplies. Fraud and graft accounted 
for a great deal of the money which the state did apply to the 
army. These factors contributed to a lack of military dis 
cipline ; it was not unusual for ragged and starving soldiers 
to beg from door to door, and it is not to be wondered at that 
the troops occasionally took the matter of the collection of 
their wages into their own hands. It was customary for 
women of bad repute to accompany the armies, and it sounds 
strange today that one of the military manuals of the time 
recommended that there should be eight women, who should 
be common to all, for every hundred soldiers. Nevertheless, 
the Spanish infantry, for more than a century, enjoyed the 
reputation of being the most capable military unit in Europe. 


Despite the frequency of naval warfare and the necessity Naval 
of maintaining communications with the Americas, com- Carfare, 
paratively little attention was paid to the marine establish 
ment, and properly speaking there was no official navy in 
the entire period. The principal method employed to as 
semble a fleet was by renting ships, whether from Spaniards 
or foreigners. In addition a few were built by the state, 
or purchased, and in times of stress merchant vessels were 
pressed into service, but this proved ruinous to commerce and 
ship-building alike. So long as other powers used the same 
methods Spain was not greatly handicapped, but with the 
development of national navies in England, France, and the 
Protestant Netherlands, she was placed at a disadvantage. 
Nevertheless, considerable fleets were often assembled. In 
1643 a special fleet called the Armada de Barlovento (fleet 
of the Barlovento, modern Windward, Islands) was organized 
at colonial expense for the defence of the Americas. It was 
soon withdrawn, but the tax remained. The fleet of the 
Catalonian deputation was maintained for a while, but 
disappeared early in the seventeenth century. There were 
also a number of private fleets, engaged principally in re 
prisals against the Moslems, a kind of piracy. While 
privateering of this sort was forbidden by law the kings 
frequently granted dispensations which enabled the traffic 
to be carried on almost continuously. Greater strictness 
was employed in the Americas lest the privateers should fail 
to resist the temptation to pick up Spanish merchantmen, 
but the prohibition there was at length removed, and the 
Spanish boats rendered great service against pirates and 
national enemies. During the sixteenth century Spanish 
fleets were manned by volunteer forces, but this was changed 
in the seventeenth to compulsory service of the fishermen 
of the coasts. The heavier work, especially the rowing of the 
galleys, was done by captives in war and by criminals, who 
served terms in the galleys rather than in prison. During 
most of the period the galley, with three banks of oars, was 
the principal type of vessel. In ocean warfare, the nao, or 
light sailing-vessel, soon came into use, and this was gradually 
supplanted by heavier ships, until late in the era there de- 



nings of 







veloped the fragata, or frigate, of over two thousand tons, 
capable of carrying as many as 120 cannon. While the 
artillery was the principal arm of the fleet, Spanish tactics 
were at fault in depending on getting close to the enemy 
and boarding him, making a military action out of the combat 
and paying little attention to the use of cannon of long 
range. The same evils which have been described in con 
nection with the army graft, irregularity of payments, 
and laxity of discipline obtained also in the navy ; in the 
expedition of Charles I against Tunis, room on board was 
found for four thousand enamoradas (sweethearts!) of the 
soldiers and sailors. 

In common with other European countries Spain developed 
a diplomatic service in this period. The sending of special 
embassies and the making of treaties had been customary 
since ancient times, but the practice of appointing ministers 
to reside at foreign courts and that of receiving those sent 
from abroad did not begin in Spain until the reign of Charles I. 
The initiative had come earlier from the Italian republics. 
From this time forward Spanish diplomacy, like that of 
other countries, took on a modern form, and ambassadors 
sent reports about the state of the countries to which they 
were accredited, strove to obtain advantages for Spain, 
endeavored to check the intrigues of the ambassadors of 
other nations, and made treaties. The use of spies as an 
auxiliary to ambassadorial work was general. For a time 
Spanish diplomacy enjoyed a high reputation for success, 
but in the later seventeenth century it was quite overshad 
owed by the French. 

The absolutism of the monarchy, its bureaucratic character, 
and the instinct of the letrados for reducing everything to 
rules and regulations produced an abundance of legislation, 
much of which was exceedingly minute in detail and casual 
in subject-matter. It was natural therefore that there should 
be a desire for a fresh codification, and this at length took 
shape in a compilation by Bartolome de Arrieta in 1567 
of the Nueva Recopilaei&n (New Compendium, or Compila 
tion), so-called with reference to the code of Montalvo, its 
predecessor, of the period of the Catholic Kings. The new 


collection, which was for Castile only, filled nine volumes, 
and amounted to little more than an elaboration of the 
Ordenanzas of Montalvo, with the addition of laws enacted 
since 1484. It contained the same defects, omitting many 
royal orders or petitions of the Cortes which had been granted, 
neglecting to eliminate obsolete laws, and failing to correct 
others whose text contained errors. Furthermore, in 
perpetuating the hierarchy of legal sources which had been 
established in the Leyes de Toro it failed to distinguish be 
tween laws in the so-called supplementary codes (such as the 
Partidas) which were indeed supplementary or obsolete and 
those which had in fact come to be in force as the principal 
law. As a result the Nueva Recopilaci6n was generally 
discredited, and the Roman law of the Partidas, or even of 
the code of Justinian, was cited in preference. The force of 
government maintained the new code, however, and it ran 
through four more editions, 1581, 1592, 1598, and 1640, 
and in each case added legislation since the preceding 
publication. The zeal for codification found expression 
also in Aragon, Catalonia, Vizcaya, and Guipuzcoa, while 
the laws with regard to the Americas were gathered together, 
after various lesser publications had been made in earlier 
times, in the Recopilacidn de las Leyes de Indias, first issued 
in 1680. The tendency toward the legal unity of the penin 
sula was not systematically striven for by the kings, since 
the variety in private law did not greatly affect their political 
sovereignty. Nevertheless, something was accomplished 
along these lines, and within each separate unit a great deal 
was effected. Thus, in Castile many of the former privileges 
which made for a division into classes and for consequent 
differences in the law were done away with, and the same 
process, though on a smaller scale, made itself felt in the 
other kingdoms of the peninsula. 

The submissiveness of the Spanish peoples under absolute 
rule has often been greatly exaggerated. In fact, neither 
then nor ever since were they loth to criticise the "mal 
gobiemo" (bad government). Evidences are to be found 
on every hand of complaints against the bureaucratic 
organization which was absorbing a great part of the national 



lying dis 
content of 
the people 
over the 

wealth and of dissatisfaction with the system of government 
by favorites, the evils of which were only too apparent. 
Not a few went so far as to desire a republic. Nevertheless, 
as a general rule, people favored the principle of monarchy, 
and did not object to the reigning house, but they did desire 
a reform of the existing regime. The ideal of limited mon 
archy found strong support among political thinkers, due 
in a measure to the resentment of Catholics over the enforced 
apostasy of the subjects of Protestant princes. On this 
account the Cortes had numerous defenders, some of whom 
urged its participation in legislation. Many treatises also 
pronounced against such practices as the sale of public offices 
or the grant of posts in perpetuity, and against others which 
have been described as current in this era. In fine, Span 
iards were well aware of the evils of their political system 
and, though patient, were keenly desirous of reform, 
despite which, little attention was paid to their wishes. 



PRIOR to the era of the House of Austria it is possible to Outstand- 
deal with the ecclesiastical institutions in Spain at the same * facts 
time with other manifestations of a social, political, economic, J? * he re ~ . 
or intellectual character, but the period of Hapsburg rule was Jclesias? 
so replete with interest on the religious side and so important tical his- 
in that respect in its ultimate results on the Americas that tory of the 
this phase of Spanish life in the sixteenth and seventeenth era * 
centuries is deserving of separate treatment. Two ideas 
dominated the period : the struggle for the maintenance of 
the Catholic faith against the inroads of Protestantism and 
other heretical beliefs ; and the efforts of the Spanish state 
to acquire a virtual political supremacy over the church, 
Few periods of history more clearly illustrate the distinction 
maintained in Catholic countries between Catholicism as a 
religious faith and the Catholic Church as an institution, a 
difference which people of the United States do not readily 
grasp. Thus it was entirely consistent that the kings of 
Spain should have been almost the most ardent champions 
in Europe of Catholic Christianity, officers of the church not 
excepted, and also most persistent in their endeavors to 
limit the ecclesiastical authority in Spanish domains. The 
greatest exponent of the latter policy as well as of the former 
was Philip II, one of the most devout monarchs who ever 
occupied the Spanish throne. In both of these controversies 
the kings were successful. Heresy made no headway in 
Spain or in the colonies, and the king gained the upper hand 
in the management of the Spanish and American church. 
Meanwhile Spanish missionaries were carrying on one of the 



greatest campaigns of proselytisrh ever waged. The thor 
oughness of the conversion of the natives in Spain s colonial 
possessions has been questioned, but there is no doubt that 
something of the external forms and the glamour so much, 
at least of the Catholic religion was implanted in the 
Americas in such a way that it has withstood the experi 
ences of centuries. Spanish American peoples, like Spaniards, 
were to have their conflicts with the church, very bitter 
ones in recent years, but never, since the Franciscan, 
Dominican, and Jesuit Fathers first preached their doctrine, 
has favor been shown for any great length of time to the 
other exotic faiths, or has any noteworthy success been met 
with in the attempts, usually short-lived, at a reversion to the 
earlier native creeds. The work of the Spanish missionary 
was indeed a permanent factor of indisputable importance in 
the new world. 

Religious One of the effects of the attainment of religious unity by 
exaltation the conversion or expulsion from Spain of the Jews, ^ 

iner e in J ares > an( ^ Moriscos was to exalt the feeling of religious 

thepres- sentiment in the peninsula. The Protestant Reformation 

tige and and the religious wars which accompanied it tended to keep 

wealth of alive these emotions among Spaniards, partly because of the 

the clergy, gp^ O f controversy they excited, and partly because of 

the blows and suffering they involved, and this spirit of 

religious exaltation was sustained by the increasing vigor of 

the Inquisition and by the activities of the Jesuit order, 

founded in this period. In consequence the power and social 

influence of the clergy were materially enhanced. The 

regular clergy was looked upon with especial favor, with the 

result that both in riches and in membership they far sur 

passed the secular branch. Many new orders were founded, 

while the older ones received fresh stimulus. At the begin 

ning of the seventeenth century there were some 200,000 

members of the regular clergy and over 9000 convents for 

men, and in both cases the numbers increased thereafter, 

while the population of the peninsula declined, a factor 

which caused political and economic writers, many of whom 

were churchmen, not a little concern. 1 Despite this fact 

1 Compare the figures on population given at page 333. 


the clergy enjoyed the highest social consideration, and 
intervened in all phases of Spanish life. This was due not 
only to the religious sentiment of the people but also in 
great measure to the superior intellectual attainments of 
some of the clergy. Thus they distinguished themselves on 
the one hand as theologians, students of the canon law, 
jurisconsults, men of letters, historians, and university 
professors, and on the other as members of state councils, or 
in high political positions in the Americas. The increase in 
the landed wealth of the church, while it was the subject of 
numerous unsuccessful petitions of the Cortes to forbid the 
giving of lands in mortmain, was largely responsible for the 
imposition of taxes on the clergy, thus diminishing the 
immunities they had formerly enjoyed. The church could 
well afford to pay, for if not the richest proprietor in Spain 
it was certainly among the first ; toward the middle of the 
sixteenth century the combined rents of the clergy amounted 
to some 5,000,000 ducats (875,000,000) a year/ or half the 
total for the kingdom, four-fifths of which amount was paid 
to the establishments of the regular clergy. Part of the 
funds was expended in charities for the benefit of the poor, 
such as the maintenance of asylums, hospitals, and soup- 
kitchens, measures which (disinterested though they might 
be) served also to augment their popularity with the masses. 

Despite the flourishing condition of the Spanish clergy Prevar- 
and their high standing in the peninsula the state of morality lence of 
among them left much to be desired. Abundant evidences 1 ? ose prac " 
on this score are at hand, not only in the form of unsympa- J^ ng t ^ e 
thetic attacks and satires, but also in the works of zealous clergy, 
and devout reformers. The fact that such writings were 
not condemned by the Inquisition argues the need for re 
proof. The practice of banagania was not unknown, even 
among bishops, some of whom entailed estates to their sons. 
Among the lesser churchmen, more particularly the secular 
clergy, the custom was more general. Solicitation by con 
fessors and the avarice of clerical collectors of revenues were 
also frequently censured in the writings of the time. Never 
theless, it is but fair to consider these evils from the stand 
point of that era. As compared with previous periods this 



nence of 
kings and 
prelates in 

age was one of marked advance in the average of clerical 
rectitude, and there were even writers who could claim that 
the Spanish clergy surpassed the churchmen of other 
countries in moderation and chasteness of life. Meanwhile, 
reforms like those instituted in the time of the Catholic- 
Kings by Ximenez were being pushed on vigorously and 
effectively, and were reinforced by the decisions of the great 
church council of Trent (1545-1563). 

The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Reaction, 
or Counter-Reformation, belong rather to European and 
church history than peculiarly to that of Spain, although 
Spain played a leading part in the events connected with 
them. Much in regard to them may therefore be omitted, 
except in so far as they affected problems in the peninsula 
itself and, by extension, the Spanish colonies. Charles I 
was an ardent partisan of church reform, but was desirous 
that it should be effected without change in dogma, and in 
this attitude he was joined by many of the greatest Catholic 
churchmen of the day, including some of the popes, who 
recognized the prevalence of abuses of which the Protestant 
leaders were able to make capital in the furtherance of their 
reforms. One of the principal policies of Charles I was the 
calling of a general church council for the discussion of this 
matter, and despite the resistance of several of the popes he 
labored to attain this end until he was at length successful. 
In 1545 there began the series of congresses which are called 
collectively the Council of Trent. Spanish prelates were one 
of the most important elements at these meetings, and in 
accordance with the ideas of Charles I and Philip II resisted 
the attempts made at a suspension of the sessions and the 
efforts of certain popes and other churchmen to bring about 
their failure. They were not only among the most frank 
in their references to the need for reform, but were also most 
rigid in their insistence upon disciplinary methods, even 
suggesting the application of the Spanish institution of the 
residencia to officers of the church. The eventual success 
of the council was due in no small degree to Spaniards, who 
also were among the most active in executing the corrective 
measures which were decided upon. 


The kings of Spain combated heresy within the peninsula Failure of 
to the fullest extent of their ability, supported by the general Protest- 
opinion of Spanish Christians, who were almost unanimously an .^ sm to 
opposed to the new ideas. Measures were taken to prevent ft^ntiaT 1 
the dissemination in Spain of the works of Martin Luther or footing in 
other heretical thinkers. In 1546 Charles I caused the first Spain. 
Index, or list of prohibited works, to be published, and this 
was reproduced, with the addition of some other volumes, by 
the Inquisition. Later the Bible was included in the Index, 
except the authorized Latin version, on the ground that the 
reading of the scriptures by uncultivated persons might 
result in misconceptions as to the true religion. Neverthe 
less, Protestantism gained devotees in the various cities of 
Spain, more particularly in Seville and Valladolid. The 
number of heretics was at no time great, but it was recruited 
from the highest ranks of society. Churchmen, more often 
friars, were the principal element, and they found converts 
in not a few members of noble families. Foreigners from 
northern lands frequently cast in their lot with the Protestant 
groups. As was natural, proselytism on a wide scale could 
not be carried on; the Yalladolid group numbered only 
about fifty and that of Seville one hundred and thirty (al 
though there is some evidence to the effect that the latter 
body attained a membership of eight hundred), while those 
of other cities were still fewer in numbers. The greatest 
name in the Sevillian movement was that of Constantino 
Ponce de la Fuente, whom a modern writer has ventured to 
compare with Martin Luther for his high qualities, within 
the Protestant movement. Ponce, who was at one time the 
confessor of Charles I and Philip II, was the author of 
various heretical works. Discovered, at length, he was 
imprisoned, and shortly afterward was found dead. In the 
year 1559 great activity was displayed by the Inquisition in 
ferreting out and punishing the Protestant communities. 
Some individuals escaped to foreign countries, but many 
were condemned to die at the stake, meeting their fate, 
almost without exception, with admirable fortitude. The 
most celebrated case was that of Bartolome Carranza, 
archbishop of Toledo. Head of the Spanish secular church 








though he was, only the efforts of Pope Pius IV saved him. 
After more than seven years of imprisonment he was allowed 
to go to Rome. Some years later he was required to for 
swear some of his writings which had figured in the original 
proceedings against him in Spain, shortly after which he 
died. In all of this vigorous persecution of Protestantism, 
Charles I and Philip II took the lead. By the end of the 
sixteenth century the new faith was no longer a problem in 
Spain. Under Philip IV a degree of toleration which would 
not have been dreamed of in earlier years began to be allowed. 
By that tune Catholic France was Spain s principal enemy, 
and this tended to soften the attitude of Spaniards toward 
Protestants, although the restrictions of the laws were still 
enforced. In 1641 a treaty was made with Denmark, per 
mitting Protestants of that country to enter the peninsula. 
From this time forward Spain was to evolve toward a more 
lenient policy still. A discussion of Spanish Protestantism 
would not be complete without a reference to the numerous 
Spaniards who took refuge hi Protestant lands, and even for 
a time in Italy and France. They wrote a number of works 
which were remarkable for the excellent literary qualities of 
the Castilian they employed and for the scientific value of 
their content. While most of their writings were of a con 
troversial, religious type they also made translations into 
Castilian or even wrote volumes of a scientific character 
dissociated from religion. Juan de Valdes and Juan Diaz 
were outstanding names among them. Miguel Servet and 
Pedro Gales, whose heresies were equally in disfavor with 
Catholics and Protestants, were also men of great distinction. 
Protestantism was not the only heterodoxy to menace 
the religious unity of the peninsula. The conversion of the 
Mudejares of the eastern provinces and the expulsion of the 
Moriscos have already been mentioned. The Jews also gave 
occasional trouble. Of the other sects the most noteworthy 
was that of the Iluminados (Uluminati). The origins of this 
faith are obscure. Many believe it to have been purely 
Spanish, a conclusion to which the peculiar mystical char 
acter of the creed lends color. Others hold that it was of 
German extraction. In any event, though the time of its 


founding is not clear, it antedated the Lutheran outbreak, 
for it was in existence at least as early as 1512. Many of the 
doctrines sustained by Luther were a part of its creed, and 
indeed it paved the way for the entry of Protestantism into 
Spain. In addition it upheld the following tenets: the 
abdication of one s own will in that of the divine ; and the 
capacity of the faithful, by means of ecstacies, to put them 
selves in personal communication with the divine essence, 
on which occasions it was impossible for them to commit sin. 
The practical result of these beliefs was an indulgence in all 
manner of licentious practices while in the sinless state. As 
in the case of Protestantism, so hi this, the devotees were 
usually members of the clergy, especially friars and nuns. 
The Inquisition attacked the new faith with vigor, but found 
it difficult to extirpate in entirety. A notable derivation 
from Illuminism was that of Quietismo (Quietism), or 
MolinismOy founded in the seventeenth century by Miguel 
de Molinos, a member of the clergy. This creed, though 
similar even in its licentiousness to Illuminism, was not at 
first considered unorthodox, wherefore it gained many 
converts, but in the end it was condemned. 

Similar in some respects to the two heretical creeds just Spanish 
mentioned was a peculiarly Spanish religious philosophy, Mysticism, 
that of Catholic Mysticism. It traces back through the 
ideas of Raymond Lull to those of the Arabic philosophers, 
but in the main it was a product of the Spanish religious 
thought of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The 
fundamental idea was that of direct communication with 
God through prayer, love of God, and the renunciation of 
earthly things, which enabled the purified soul in a state of 
ecstasy to appear in the divine presence. The whole process 
was accompanied by miracles, but without any loss to the 
individual of his spiritual existence or of his intelligence for 
an understanding of God. At first the ecclesiastical author 
ities were suspicious of it, prohibiting the writings of the 
mystics and conducting investigations into the conduct of 
those who professed a belief in it. At length, however, it 
was accepted as orthodox, and its devotees were not molested. 
They produced a rich literature, in which they set forth not 



The In 
as an in 
of the 
kings and 
an agency 
to sup 

only the fundamental bases of their belief but also the 
experiences they had in journeying to God. One of the 
mystics, Maria de Jesus de Agreda, is famous as "the Blue 
Lady" of the American (United States) southwest and 
Pacific coast, for she is said to have visited these regions 
while in a state of ecstacy and to have converted many of 
the natives, recounting her travels in her published works. 
She is also famous for her correspondence with Philip TV. 
The greatest names, however, were those of Santa Teresa 
de Jestis 1 and San Juan de la Cruz, the former notable in 
literature for the excellence of her prose, and the latter 
equally noteworthy as a poet. The writings of these and 
other mystics also displayed a profound psychological study, 
such, for example, as was required by their ability to dis 
tinguish between the processes of the soul on the way to 
communication with God, and as was evidenced by tbeir 
skill in differentiating between the various elements in 
religious sentiment. 

The two principal instruments employed to combat heresy 
were the Inquisition and the Jesuit order. So far as the 
former concerned itself with matters of the faith, it had the 
support of the Spanish people, who equally with the kings 
were desirous of the establishment and maintenance of 
religious unity. The Inquisition had acquired various 
powers and privileges, however, which were not directly 
connected with its principal office. Papal bulls had been 
procured giving it jurisdiction in cases of usury, crimes 
against nature, and improper solicitations of confessors; it 
claimed exemption for its officers and servants from the 
operation of the civil law courts ; and its relations with these 
courts, made necessary by the legal incapacity of the In 
quisition to execute its own sentences, often gave rise to 
conflicts and misunderstandings. The people of Spain were 
perfectly able to distinguish between the Inquisition as an 
instrument of the faith and the Inquisition in these extra- 

1 The addition of the name "de Jestis" to that of some of the 
mystics came from their assertions of a marriage with Christ, 
according to which fact their names, in Spanish fashion, required 
this indication of their marital partner. 


jurisdietional phases, and protested vigorously against that 
body in the latter sense. The various Cortes of Castile, 
Aragon, and Catalonia presented many a petition on this 
score to the kings, and it was a prominent factor in the 
Catalan revolt of 1640. Nevertheless, the kings consist 
ently sustained the Inquisition. When the Aragonese 
Cortes secured a papal license reducing the Inquisition to 
the same footing as the other ecclesiastical courts, Charles 
I procured the withdrawal of the license. Philip II pro 
hibited all appeals from or complaints against the Inquisition 
before the audieneias or the Consejo Real. The decisions 
of the Inquisition thus became final, although it is true that 
cases of appeal and the recourse of fuerza (also forbidden by 
Philip) were occasionally allowed to go beyond that body. 
When there seemed to be a likelihood that the Council of 
Trent might deprive the Inquisition of some of its authority, 
Charles I used every effort to cause a failure of the project. 
In fact the Inquisition was virtually an instrument of the 
kings, who did not hesitate to direct its action as if it were 
legally subject to them, and who were always able to procure 
the appointment of members of the Consejo Real to the 
Council of the Inquisition. As regards heresy the period, 
naturally, was exceedingly fruitful in prosecutions and was 
marked by an excess of suspicion, such that individuals 
whose purity of faith was hardly open to question were not 
infrequently brought to trial, among others, Ignacio de 
Loyola (Saint Ignatius), and Teresa de Jesus, who, like 
Loyola, was later canonized. Extreme rigor was displayed in 
placing the ban on unorthodox books and in expurgating 
those which were allowed to circulate. Charles I required 
all books to have the authorization of the Consejo Real 
before they could be published. Foreign books were also 
scrutinized carefully, and libraries were made subject to 
inspection. The grant of a license by the Consejo Real did 
not mean that a book might not be placed on the Inquisi 
tion s Index of forbidden works. It is worthy of note, too, 
that the Spanish Index and that of the Inquisition of Rome 
often varied from each other in their lists; thus a book 
condemned at Rome might circulate in Spain, and vice versa, 



Ignaeio de 


and the 


of the 



istics of 
the Jesuit 

but this of course was not the general rule. The Spanish 
Inquisition did not make its way to Spain s Italian posses 
sions, but was established in the Low Countries, where it 
was very active, and in the Americas. 

The other important agency of the Spanish Counter- 
Reformation, the Jesuit order, was the creation of a Spaniard, 
Ignaeio de Loyola (1491 or 1495-1556), who became Saint 
Ignatius (San Ignaeio) with his canonization in, 1609. As 
a youth Loyola led the somewhat wild life of a soldier. 
Wounded in 1521 during the defence of Pamplona from an 
attack of the French, he was a long time in recovering his 
health, devoting the period of his convalescence to the read 
ing of religious works. He thereupon resolved to dedicate 
his life to religion, and as soon as he was restored to health 
made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Upon his return he 
pursued religious studies at the universities of Barcelona, 
Alcala, Salamanca, and Paris. While at Alcala, where he 
and several companions made a practice of wearing sack 
cloth and preaching in the streets, he was arrested by the 
Inquisition, but was set free without other penalty than an 
order to give up his sackcloth and his preaching. A similar 
fate befell him in Salamanca. Eventually Loyola and his 
companions found their way to Rome, where they con 
tinued their street preaching, despite the opposition of the 
Augustinian order and some of the cardinals. They applied 
to themselves the name "Company of Jesus" (hence Jesuits), 
and in 1539 organized an order in military form, vowing 
implicit obedience to their superiors, especially to the 
pope, prescribing the rule of a general for life, and pledging 
themselves to the founding of colleges. The new order was 
formally approved by the pope in 1540, and Loyola became 
the first general. 

WTiile an extended discussion of the characteristics of the 
Jesuit order is not necessary, some of the respects in which 
it differed from the others should be pointed out, in order to 
make clear the effect of the Jesuit appearance in Spain and 
the Americas. Great emphasis was placed on the military 
side ; Loyola was wont to say that he had never ceased to 
be a soldier, he had merely become a soldier of God. 


Obedience to superiors and to the pope was not a new idea, 
but with the Jesuits it was as rigidly literal as in an army. 
They became one of the principal supports of the popes at a 
time when many church leaders were advocating the reform 
of the papacy with a view to limiting the powers of the head 
of the church. Like soldiers, they attacked the enemies of 
the pope, church, and the Catholic religion, and were charged 
with employing methods which gave rise to the term "Jesu 
itry" in an opprobrious sense. They did not stay in convents, 
but went forth among the people to fight for the principles 
for which they stood. There was no election of their leaders ; 
the attainment of office came through appointment by the 
general, who even chose his own successor. Education was 
their principal weapon, education of the high and the low. 
In other respects the Jesuits were at the same time more 
simple and more mundane in their exterior practices at 
least in the beginning than the other orders. They 
opposed choral singing, the wearing of a distinctive habit, 
participation in religious processions, the monastic life, and 
asceticism. They believed in the individual poverty of 
their members, but were willing that the order and its 
separate institutions should prosper in a material way. In 
other words they were going into the world, not away from 
it, and were desirous of the best equipment for the struggle 
which lay before them. 

The influence of the new order soon made itself felt Spanish 
throughout the world. At first Spaniards were in the ma- opposition 
jority, and it was natural that the Jesuits should estab- to the 
lish themselves in Spain s dominions. By 1547 they had esui s * 
five institutions in Spain, and by 1566 sixteen. Soon after 
ward they began to appear in the Americas, where they 
became one of the principal agencies of the Spanish crown 
in the conversion and subjection of the natives, being per 
haps the most effective of the missionary orders. Not only 
as missionaries but also as theologians, scientists, and men 
of letters the Spanish Jesuits were among the most dis 
tinguished men of the age. They were not welcomed by 
their fellow-countrymen in Spain, however ; rather, they had 
to contend against some of the most powerful elements 


in the peninsula. Members of the clergy, both regular and 
secular, were opposed to them, notably the Dominicans, 
Franciscans, Augustinians, and the officers of the Inquisition, 
the first named especially, while the universities and at 
the outset the kings were also hostile. Melchor Cano, a 
Dominican and one of the most influential men of his day, 
charged the Jesuits with heresy, claiming that their vows 
savored of the doctrines of the Iluminados. The archbishop 
of Toledo, Cardinal Siliceo, forbade them to preach, confess, 
say mass, or administer sacraments, but was obliged by the 
pope to retract his decrees. Arias Montano attacked them 
in the preface of his polyglot Bible, asserting that the Jesuits 
claimed that they alone had knowledge and that they were 
the nearest of all men to Jesus. These are but a few instances 
out of many, showing the difficulties encountered by the 
Jesuits in establishing themselves in Spain. It seems likely 
that jealousy may have entered into much of the resistance 
to them, for they early began to outrank and even supersede 
other elements in teaching and in learning. Charles I and 
Philip II objected to them because they placed the pope 
ahead of the king, not acknowledging the latter s authority 
over them, and this was not altogether in accordance with the 
royal ideal of centralization. Furthermore, the Jesuits were 
such an aggressive factor that they were hard to manage. 
The Inquisition took exception among other things to the 
Jesuit claim of a right to absolve their own members from 
the charge of heresy, and imprisoned the Jesuit provincial, 
or commanding official, in Spain, together with other mem 
bers of the order. Philip II took sides with the Inquisition, 
but the pope sustained the Jesuits. By the seventeenth 
century the Jesuits had succeeded in overcoming their rivals, 
although they never ceased to have enemies. Their success 
was due in the first place to the continued support of the 
popes ; in the second to the change of heart experienced by 
Philip II late in life, when he began to realize that they were 
one of the most effective instruments for the religious unifica 
tion of his dominions, and in so much furthered his ideal 
of centralization; in the third place to the backing of 
the opponents of their enemies, especially those who were 



hostile to the Inquisition ; and, finally, and perhaps most of 
all, to their own superior attainments, whereby they were 
able to win a devoted following among all ranks of society. 
The successors of Philip II followed the later policy of 
that king, with the result that the seventeenth century 
was the most prosperous era in the history of the Jesuit 

One thing Spanish kings failed to do elsewhere in Europe 
they achieved in Spain, their ideal of religious unity. At 
the same time that they were suppressing heresy they were 
giving a welcome to Catholics fleeing to Spain from Prot 
estant persecution, notably to the Irish, who came to the 
peninsula in great numbers. The ideal of Catholic unity 
was carried to an excess which transcended unity itself 
through an extension of the institution of limpieza de sangre. 
Certificates of limpieza de sangre (that is to say, sworn state 
ments that the bearer had no Jewish, Moslem, or heretic 
antecedents) now began to be required for the holding of 
various church offices or for entry into religious orders and 
often also for admission to the guilds. As a matter of fact 
there were few families which could have withstood a close 
examination of their ancestry; the upper classes would 
almost surely have been found to contain Jewish blood, and 
the masses, certainly in the east and south, would have had 
a Moslem admixture in their veins. The attainment of 
religious unity and the extreme suspicion in which non- 
Catholics were held did not succeed in making the Spanish 
people respond to the moral code of their faith. Not only 
such licentious practices as have already been alluded to were 
in vogue, but also a surprising lack of reverence was dis 
played, as exemplified by the improper use of sacred places 
and sacred objects and the mixture of the human and the 
divine in masquerades. Nevertheless, it is not too much to 
say that the principal preoccupation of Spaniards in the 
sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries was the salvation of 
their souls. The worst of men would want to confess and 
seek absolution before they died, and many of them no 
doubt believed themselves to be good Catholics, even though 
their every-day life would not have borne inspection. One 

de sangre 
and the 
fervor of 



Conflict of 
the kings 
with the 
popes in 
matters of 

notable religious manifestation of the era was the ardent 
insistence of Spaniards on the mystery of the Immaculate 
Conception at a time when Catholics of other countries were 
not yet ready to accept that view. 

In distinguishing between the spiritual and the temporal 
phases of papal authority the kings of the House of Austria 
followed the policy of the Catholic Kings, but surpassed the 
latter in their claims of the superiority, or independence, as 
the case might be, of the royal power. Various factors 
contributed to this attitude in Spain. The monarchical 
ideal of a centralized absolutism, now that it had triumphed 
over the nobility and the towns, sought out the church in its 
civil aspects as the nest outstanding element to dominate; 
the interests of the Spanish kings in Italy continued to bring 
them into opposition to the popes as sovereigns of the Papal 
States ; and the problems of ecclesiastical reform often found 
the kings and the popes widely, even bitterly, apart. Charles 
I had frequent conflicts with the papacy, but Philip II had 
even more serious contests, in which he displayed yet more 
unyielding resistance than his father to what he regarded as 
the unwarranted intrusions of the popes into the sphere of 
Spanish politics. When in 1556 it seemed likely that Philip 
would be excommunicated and his kingdom laid under an 
interdict, Philip created a special council to exercise in Spain 
such functions as were customarily in the hands of the pope. 
In this as in his other disputes of a political nature with the 
papacy he was able to count on the support of the Spanish 
clergy. One document reciting Philip s grievances against 
Pope Paul IV, applying harsh epithets to him, and expressing 
doubt as to the legitimacy of his election, is believed to have 
been written by a member of the clergy. Another docu 
ment, the Parecer, or opinion, of Melchor Cano, a Dominican, 
argued the lawfulness of making war on the pope, and said 
that in such cases, when communication with Rome was 
insecure, the bishops might decide ecclesiastical questions 
which were ordinarily left to the pope. 

To avoid such disputes and to assure Spain of an ally in 
Italian affairs Charles I and Philip II bent their efforts to 
procure the election of popes who would be favorable to 


them. Charles had much to do with the choice in 1522 of Interfer- 
Adrian VI, who as a cardinal had been one of his principal ad- eace f 
ministrative officers during his own absence from the peninsula ^f 1 " 163 1 
in the early years of his reign. Philip was successful in the p^p n 
same way when in 1559 he was able to cause the elevation of in papal 
his candidate to the papal throne. This pope, Pius IV, elections* 
proceeded to annul the action of his predecessor, Paul IV, 
against Charles and Philip, and condemned to death two mem 
bers of the deceased pope s family, one of them a cardinal. At 
the election of 1590 Philip was again fortunate, but the new 
pontiff, Urban VII, lived only thirteen days. A fresh 
conclave was held, at which Philip went to the extreme not 
only of excluding the candidates whom he opposed but also 
of naming seven Spanish churchmen as the only ones from 
among whom the cardinals were to choose. One of the 
seven was elected, taking the name Gregory XIV, and no 
pope of the century was more unconditionally favorable to 
the wishes of a Spanish king. This constant intrusion of 
Philip ended by exasperating the high authorities of the 
church, who a few years later under another pope condemned 
Philip s practices and declared him ipso facto excommuni 
cated. This proved to be a decisive blow to the influence 
of the Spanish crown. 

One of the principal struggles between the popes and the The pase 
kings was the royal claim of the pase regio, or the right to regio as an 
examine papal bulls and pontifical letters and, ^ if deemed 
advisable, to retain them, prohibiting their publication and 
therefore their execution in Spanish domains. The origin 
of this claim on the part of the Spanish monarchs seems to the popes, 
date from the period of the Great Schism, when Urban VI 
(1378-1389) granted such a privilege to the princes allied 
with him. It was not officially decreed in Spain until the 
early years of Charles I, when provision for the pa$e regio in 
all Spanish dominions was made in a document drawn up by 
Cardinal Ximenez. According to this arrangement papal 
communications were to be examined in the Consejo Real, 
and if found to be contrary to the royal prerogative or other 
wise objectionable their circulation was to be postponed 
and the pope asked to change or withdraw his dispositions. 


Usually the retention of such documents took place without 
giving official notice to the pope, which in the case of a 
hostile pontiff would have been in any event unavailing. If 
the popes insisted on their point of view the royal prohibi 
tions were nevertheless continued. If any subjects of the king 
resisted his will in this matter, even though they were church 
men, they might incur the penalty of a loss of goods or ban 
ishment or both, and notaries or attorneys might even be 
condemned to death. When Paul IV excommunicated 
Charles I and Philip II, the latter put into effect the pose 
regio. Unable to procure the publication of his bull in 
Spain, Paul IV summoned to Rome two Spanish bishops 
who were intensely royalist in their sympathies. Philip II 
protected them by retaining the papal order, so that the 
individuals did not learn officially of the summons. Not 
only in serious contests of this character but also in matters 
of comparatively little moment the kings exercised the right 
of retention, for example, in the case of a bull of Sixtus 
V about the dress and maintenance of the clergy. The 
above are only a few instances out of many. One of the 
most bitter conflicts was waged by Philip II in opposition 
to a bull of Pius V excommunicating those who retained 
papal dispositions. Philip II retained this bull, and pun 
ished some bishops of Spain s Italian domains who had 
published it within their dioceses. The pope threatened to 
put Spain under an interdict, but Philip declined to yield. 
The bull was never published in the peninsula, and the pope 
did not make use of the interdict. 

The case The successors of Philip II were equally insistent upon the 
of Car- royal prerogative in their relations with the church. One 
~ of the most curious incidents in the disputes of the kings and 

the popes occurred in the reign of Philip IV. Cardinal Borja 
and several other Spanish cardinals were sent to Rome to 
present the king s grievances against the pontiff arising out 
of matters connected with the wars against the Protestants. 
Borja was roughly handled on making his protest ; it is said 
that Cardinal San Onofre punched him in the face by di 
rection of the pope. When this event was reported in Spain 
a general meeting of royal councillors was held, in which it 


was even discussed whether it would be lawful to challenge 
the pope to settle the matter by meajis of a duel ! In this 
and other matters there was talk of an appeal from the pope 
to a church council. As the royalist attitude toward the 
popes was often defended in books, many of them by church 
men, a practice sprang up at Rome of placing such works in 
the Index as writings which the faithful were forbidden to 
read, but these volumes did not appear in the Index of the 
Spanish Inquisition. Finally the attitude of superiority 
on the part of the monarchs made itself evident, as already 
indicated, in questions of the reform of the church. Charles Interfere 
I and Philip II labored to establish their views at the Council enee of 
of Trent not only in matters of administration but also in C^ 168 * 
those of doctrine. Indeed, many Catholics believed that p^pii 
it v/as the duty of the kings to remedy the evils of the church. i n matters 
With the conclusion of the Council of Trent, Philip II hesi- of church 
tated for a year before publishing its decisions, because of reform, 
his belief that some of the provisions of the council dimin 
ished, or might diminish, his royal authority. When he at 
length did publish them, he did so with the reservation that 
they were not to be considered as introducing any variation 
from the usual jurisdiction of the king. Consequently, 
various canons of the council remained without effect in 
Spain and her possessions. 

The same conflict of authority between the church and Royal 
the monarch manifested itself in the relations of the kings restrie- 
with papal nuncios, who in the reign of Charles I began to ^^ ere 
reside at the Spanish court as permanent ambassadors. In of papa } 
1537 Charles I obtained a license from the pope for the nuncios 
creation of the tribunal of the nunciature, or court of the and the 
papal embassy in Spain. This court, composed in part at 
least of Spanish officials, was to hear the numerous cases in 
ecclesiastical law which had customarily been settled at 
Rome. At the same time, the nuncio was empowered to 
grant the benefices which formerly lay within the juris 
diction of the popes. The nuncio also collected the con 
siderable sums which went to the popes from ecclesiastical 
prebends, or livings, from the expolws of deceased bishops 
and archbishops (accretions in their benefices which they 


had procured out of rents), and from the income of vacardes, 
or vacant benefices (that which accrued between the death 
of a bishop or archbishop and the appointment of his suc 
cessor). Once having transferred authority from the pope 
to the nuncio and nunciature the kings proceeded to attack 
these elements near at hand so as to reduce their power of 
interference with the royal authority. In this they were 
aided by all classes. The churchmen were royalist and at 
the same time opposed to papal intervention in ecclesiastical 
administration in Spain. People generally objected to such 
wide jurisdiction being in the hands of a foreigner, for the 
nuncios were usually Italians. There were frequent com 
plaints that the nunciature was guilty of the advocacy of 
lawsuits and the collection of excessive costs, with the result 
that the court was sustained out of Spanish funds instead 
of by the popes. All of these matters were the subject of 
criticism in both the Cortes and the Consejo Real, and the 
inevitable result was the employment of restrictive measures. 
The pose regio was applied to the directions by the popes 
to the nuncios, and the intervention of the nunciature in 
ecclesiastical cases in first instance was prohibited. There 
were times when the relations of the kings with the nuncio 
were indeed strained; Philip II went to the extreme of 
expelling a nuncio who had endeavored to publish a papal 
bull which -the king had decided to retain ; the same thing 
happened under Philip IV, who closed the papal embassy. 
Matters were arranged in 1640 by the Fachenetti concordat, 
or agreement of the nuncio of that name with the king. 
This document reduced the procedure of the nunciature and 
the attributes of the nuncio to writing, and although it did 
not remove all the causes of dispute served as the basis for 
diplomatic relations with the papal embassy until the middle 
of the eighteenth century. 

The relations of the kings with the popes and nuncios 
formed only part of the former s royalist policy with the 
church. The same course was followed with the ecclesi 
astical organization in Spain. The gradual reduction of the 
clergy to a tributary state as regards payment of taxes has 
already been referred to. Charles I procured various grants 


of a financial nature from the popes, such as the right to sell Subjec- 
certain ecclesiastical holdings (whose proceeds were to be tionoftke 
devoted to the war with the Turks), the collection of various ^j^f" 
church rents yielding over 1,000,000 ducats (some $15,000,- ganization 
000), and finally the gift of expolios and xacantes. On the in Spain to 
other hand, despite the petitions of the Cortes and the the royal 
opinions of leading jurisconsults, the kings declined to pre- 
vent the giving of lands in mortmain, or in other words the 
acquisition of estates by the church. The most serious 
conflicts arose over questions of immunities, growing out of 
the survival of ecclesiastical jurisdictions of a seigniorial 
character and out of the relations of the church courts to 
those of the king and to the royal authority in general. 
Many of the seigniorial groups were incorporated into the 
crown, especially by Philip II. As regards the legal immu 
nity of churchmen it came to be accepted as the rule that it 
could be claimed only in cases within the jurisdiction of the 
ecclesiastical courts. This was diminished still further by 
royal invasions of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as by limiting 
the scope of the church courts, prohibiting (under severe 
penalties) the intrusions of their judges in civil affairs, and 
intervening to correct abuses, real or alleged. The king 
reserved a rirht of inspection of the ecclesiastical courts, 
exercised for him by members of the Consejo Real or the 
audiencias, and if anybody were unduly aggrieved by a 
decision of the church courts he might make use of the re 
course of fuerza to bring an appeal before the Consejo Real, 
the Camara, or the audiencias. The effect of this was to 
suspend the execution of an ecclesiastical sentence, subor 
dinating the church courts to the royal will. Many matters 
of a religious character were taken over into the exclusive 
jurisdiction of the Consejo Real or the Cdmara, such as the 
inspections of convents of the regular clergy and the action 
taken as a result thereof and the execution of the decisions 
of the Council of Trent. Laws relative to the recourse of 
fuerza were amplified so as to prohibit ecclesiastical judges 
from trying cases which were considered by any of the liti 
gants concerned as belonging to the civil law; other laws 
forbade the summoning of Spaniards before foreign judges ; 




real as & 
source of 
royal au 

and still others diminished the number of appeals to Rome. 
Even churchmen took advantage of the recourse of fuerza 
to have their cases removed to the royal courts when it 
suited their convenience, despite the attempts of the popes 
to check the practice. In such instances, as in so many 
others, the pose regio was employed to prevent effectual 
action by the popes. Even in the case of the provincial 
councils of the Spanish church the king sent delegates, on 
the ground that no conventions or congresses of any sort 
could be held without the consent of the king and the attend 
ance of his representatives. In 1581 Pope Gregory XTEI 
ordered the archbishop of Toledo not to admit anybody to 
a council about to be held at that time who was not a mem 
ber of the clergy. Philip II sent his delegate, nevertheless, 
and his successors followed his example. In like manner 
religious processions were forbidden unless authorized by 
the civil authorities. 

The royal authority over the Spanish church is largely 
explained by the institution of the patronato real, or royal 
patronage. Charles I early gained a right to make nomi 
nations to most of the bishoprics and abbacies in Spain, 
although the pope had to approve before the appointment 
should take effect. Even in the case of benefices still re 
served by the pope the kings insisted that the appointees 
should be Spaniards. As regards the Americas the church 
was yet more completely under the king s control, thus 
giving still other lucrative posts into his power to grant. 
Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the 
Spanish clergy should favor the king, to whom they owed 
their rents and dignities, rather than the pope, and should 
even consent to diminutions in the privileges of Spanish 
churchmen. Indeed, faithful service as a councillor might 
be the stepping-stone to a bishopric. Nevertheless the 
kings did not allow churchmen to intrude in political affairs 
without being asked, and instances of official reproof on this 
score were numerous, despite which fact the clergy took a 
prominent part in political intrigues, and were possibly the 
principal factor in the Portuguese war of independence from 
Spain. Furthermore, the solicitation of inheritances by 


churchmen was insistently forbidden by the king; on one 
occasion when accusations of this character were made 
against the Jesuits of Flanders the Duke of Alba annulled 
all testamentary dispositions to that order and provided for 
the inheritance of the legal heirs. 


live back- 





WHILE this era was marked by a brief period of prosperity, 
an( j w kii e there was a noteworthy advance out of medieval- 
^ m * n t ie ev l u ti n f mercantile machinery, the keynote 
f the times was the failure of Spain to keep pace in material 
welfare with her high standing in other aspects of life. Spain 
continued to be a raw material country, although artificial 
attempts were still made to create a thriving industrial 
development. These efforts, when they did not fail al 
together, accrued to the advantage of foreigners or resulted 
in establishments which were of slight consequence in 
comparison with those of other European lands. A com 
bination of evils at length sank Spain to such a state of 
economic degradation and misery as comported ill with her 
political reputation in European affairs and with the oppor 
tunities she had had and failed to employ to advantage. 
Nevertheless, Spain s decadence, overwhelming though it 
was, is to be viewed from a relative standpoint. Medieval 
Spain at its best, except possibly during the Moslem era, 
did not attain to an equally flourishing state with the Spain 
of the seventeenth century, which marks the lowest point to 
which she has fallen in modern times. On the other hand, 
with relation to other countries in the seventeenth century 
and with due regard to the needs which an expanded civili 
zation had by that time developed, Spain came to be eco 
nomically about the most backward land in western Europe. 
This occurred, in spite of the fact that Spaniards found and 
developed such extraordinary wealth in their new world 
possessions that their colonies were the envy of Europe. 


ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700 325 

Spain did indeed get rich returns from her overseas invest 
ment, but these funds and others were squandered in the 
ways which have already been pointed out. 

At the outset there was a period of undoubted prosperity, Relative 
due in part to a continuation of the favoring legislation of prosperity 
the era of the Catholic Kings, but more particularly to the "* t . te 
enormously increased demand resulting from the rapid and 
extensive colonization of the Americas, whose commerce 
was restricted by law to favored regions of the Spanish 
kingdom. The American trade and to some extent the con- TheAmer- 
siderable fortunes gained in the colonies themselves pro- lean trade, 
vided capital for a yet further expansion of the industrial 
wealth of the peninsula. The effects were felt principally 
in Castile, but were reflected also in Aragon and Valencia. 
Seville, as the sole port of the American trade, became Industrial 
extraordinarily rich in its industrial life, and many other wealth of 
cities shared in the general prosperity. Woollen goods and Seville - 
silks were manufactured on a large scale, and many other 
articles, such as hats, gloves, soap, leathers, arms, and 
furniture were also made. Grazing and fishing were notably Grazing, 
productive industries. When Philip II ascended the Spanish 
throne in 1556, it is said that the corporation of the Mesta 
possessed seven million sheep. Part of the wool which they 
produced was supplied to Spanish manufacturers, though 
other sources were also drawn upon by the makers of woollen 
goods, but vast quantities of wool were sent abroad. In 
1512 about 50,000 quintals were exported; in 1557 some 
150,000; and in 1610 the amount had reached 180,000 
quintals. The whale-fisheries off the northern and north- Fishing, 
western coasts of Spain, at that time a rich field for this 
occupation, and the catching of tunny-fish in the Medi 
terranean furnished profitable employment to the people of 
the coasts, who also made voyages to distant waters, even 
to Newfoundland, on fishing ventures. The wars of the 
reign of Philip II and the scarcity of boats soon tended to 
check this phase of economic expansion. Mining produced Mining, 
but little, in part because the possessors of latifundia 
nobfes and churchmen did not care to develop their 
estates in this respect and in part because private individuals 


generally could not be certain that they would be allowed to 
enjoy any profit they might make. Philip II, desirous of 
remedying this situation, incorporated all mines into the 
crown, and encouraged prospecting for mineral wealth, 
though exacting certain tributes from those who should 
discover and work mines, but even under these circumstances 
little was done. 

Relative There has been a tendency to exaggerate the state of 
character prosperity to which Spain attained and to treat it as if it 

of Spanish, SU( jdenly collapsed. In fact Spain s industrial wealth was 
industrial , * i i , , 111 i 

prosperity. on b r g^ 8 -* by comparison with what it once had been and 
with what it was presently to be in the period of decline. 
The manufacture of cloth in the entire kingdom in the most 
flourishing epoch did not equal the output of the single city 
of Bruges. That the growth of manufacturing was only 
ephemeral and did not take root in the peninsula is attested 
by the fact that it was usually necessary, even in the era of 
greatest industrial expansion, to depend upon imports to 
supply Spain s needs, while the considerable exports of raw 
materials, especially wool, show that the domestic demand 
could not have been great. Undoubtedly a good industrial 
beginning was made, which might have resulted in the 
economic independence of Spain. It did not continue, how- 
Its dura- ever, and the question arises: How long did the era of 
tionin relative industrial prosperity endure? A precise answer is 
***&* impossible, because some industries flourished longer than 

others, or the same industry prospered in one place after it 
had ceased to do so in another. Conflicting accounts began 
to appear about the middle of the reign of Charles I, and 
even in the first half of the seventeenth century there were 
documents which testified to instances of prosperity. Speak 
ing generally, the decline may be said to have made itself 
felt in the reign of Philip II and to have become clearly 
apparent by the middle of the reign of Philip IV. 
Handicaps Agriculture did not advance much from its wretched state 
onagri- o f the previous era. The economists, giving undue im- 
culture. portance to the accumulation of specie, and obsessed by a 
desire to develop manufactures, did not appreciate the 
fundamental value of agriculture; grazing was favored at 

ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700 327 

the expense of farming; agricultural labor, never plentiful, 
was still more scarce after the expulsion of the Moriscos; 
and the evil of latifundia tended to reduce the amount of land 
cultivated. The laws encouraged agriculture only when it 
did not interfere with what were considered the more im 
portant industries. Legislation was frequent forbidding 
the cultivation of lands which had ever been devoted to 
grazing and compelling their restoration to that industry, 
and the old privileges of the Mesta were maintained to the 
detriment of the farmers. The scarcity of agricultural 
labor caused an immigration from other countries, espe 
cially from France, and this increased after the expulsion of 
the Moriscos. It did not solve the problem, as the foreigners 
were wont to return home, after they had accumulated 
savings. Under the circumstances it is not surprising that 
agricultural production did not meet the needs of the penin 
sula. Something was done to protect farm laborers, and 
some government projects of irrigation were undertaken, 
but not enough was done to offset the handicaps which the 
state itself imposed. Intensive cultivation by small pro 
prietors was one of the needs of the time, and one attempt to 
bring this about in Granada was made. Some 12,500 
Castilian, Asturian, and Galician families were sent there to 
replace in a measure the several hundred thousand expelled 
Moriscos. The experiment was successful, and the coloniza 
tion took root, but it was not repeated. Nevertheless, 
eastern and southern Spain had their period of relative 
prosperity, especially through the cultivation of the vine 
and the olive. The Americas offered a rich field for the 
export of wine, since the growing of vines was prohibited 
there, and the soil, climate, irrigation canals, and Morisco 
labor (prior to the expulsion) of Valencia, Granada, and 
Andalusia were well adapted to provide the desired supply. 
Even this form of agriculture suffered a serious decline in 
the seventeenth century, due largely to the loss of the 

Spanish commerce had its era of splendor and its period of 
decline, but the former was prolonged much more than in 
the case of the manufacturing industry, because of Spain s 



tive pros 
perity of 


of Seville 





The con- 
and other 

serving as a medium for distribution between foreign 
countries and the Americas, and because of the continued 
exchange of raw materials for the foreign finished product 
after Spain herself had ceased to be a serious competitor in 
manufacturing. Seville was by far the most prosperous 
port in the country, since it had a monopoly of the American 
trade, which also necessitated the sending to that city of 
goods from the other parts of Spain and from foreign 
countries for trans-shipment overseas. Mercantile trans 
actions on a great scale, involving the modern forms of 
credit and the establishment of branch houses in all parts of 
the world, were a natural outgrowth of Seville s great volume 
of trade. The wealth of the city continued until well into 
the seventeenth century. The transfer of the Casa de Con- 
tratacion (which handled Spain s commerce with the Amer 
icas) from Seville to Cadiz occasioned a decline of the former 
and a corresponding prosperity of the latter. Possibly next 
in importance to Seville in mercantile affairs was the inland 
city of Medina del Campo, site of the greatest of Spanish 
fairs and, except for the east coast provinces, the contractual 
centre of the entire kingdom. Purchases, sales, and ex 
changes of goods entering or leaving the various ports of 
Spain were usually arranged there. Numerous other cities 
shared with Seville and Medina del Campo in the commercial 
activity of the sixteenth century, even those of the east coast, 
although the forces which had occasioned their decline in 
preceding eras were still operative and were to renew their 
effects before the sixteenth century had much more than 
passed the halfway mark. The Mediterranean trade of 
Spain remained largely in the hands of the Catalans, how 
ever. North European commerce, of which that with 
Flanders was the most important, was shared generally by 
Spain s Atlantic ports, although those of the north coast had 
in this case a natural advantage. 

The inevitable result of the commercial activity of the 
sixteenth century was the development of a mercantile 
machinery to handle the trade. This occurred, in Spain, 
on the basis of institutions already in existence, the con- 
sulados, merchants exchange buildings (lonjas), and fairs. 

ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700 329 

To the earlier consulados of Valencia (1283), Barcelona 
(1347), Saragossa (1391), Burgos (1494), and Bilbao (1511) 
there were added those of Seville (1543) and Madrid (1632). 
Although the consulados of the ports differed in some respects 
from those of the interior the same principles applied to 
both, so much so, that the ordinances of the consulado of 
Burgos were the model for that of Bilbao. The consulado 
of Burgos served as the type, indeed, upon which the 
ordinances of many of the later consulados were founded, 
wherefore its description may suffice for all. Strictly 
speaking, the consulado was only the tribunal of the body 
of merchants, who together formed the universidad, or 
association, for purposes of trade, although, the term con- 
sulado came eventually to include both. Many cities lacked 
the tribunal, but did possess the universidad of merchants. 
The tribunal, or consulado, of Burgos exercised jurisdiction 
in mercantile cases, and also had charge of such important 
matters as maritime insurance, charter-parties, and the 
patronage of certain pious foundations. The universidad met 
annually to elect the officers of the consulado, a prior, two 
consuls, and a treasurer. The jurisdiction of the consulado 
as a court was not limited to cases arising in Burgos, but 
extended to other towns and cities for many miles around 
it. There was an appeal in criminal cases to the corregidor 
of Burgos, but in civil cases the consulado was independent 
of both the royal and the municipal courts. The consulado 
of Madrid introduced some novelties, principal among which 
was its close attachment to the national bureaucracy 
through the intervention in its affairs of the Consejo Real. 
Various cities founded merchants exchange buildings, 
including some which had no consulado. As for the fairs, 
the great importance of Medina del Campo has already 
been mentioned. Two fairs a year, in May and October, 
were held at that city, on which occasions merchants, bankers, 
and brokers from all parts of the world gathered there. By 
the end of the sixteenth century the fairs of Medina del 
Campo were already in a state of decline, and they received 
a death-blow when by royal mandate Burgos replaced 
Medina del Campo as the contractual centre of Spain. 


Burgos did not greatly profit, however, for the general 
mercantile decadence had begun to affect all commercial 
institutions in the country. Mercantile machinery survived 
after the period of prosperity had passed, and thus it was 
only to be expected that a central institution should at 
length be founded. Such was the case, for the Junta de 
Comercio y Moneda (Junta, or Council, of Commerce and 
Coinage) came into existence in 1679. During the remainder 
of this era it was of slight consequence, however. 
Medieval The legislation of the period reflected the prevailing 
character economic ideas, such as the exceptional importance attached 
sistenctesT to P rec i ous metals, the insistence that the balance of trade 
ofmer- should favor exports (lest imports should result in specie 
cantile going out of the country), the favor shown toward the policy 
legislation. o f protection, and in a measure the continuance of the 
medieval penchant for government regulation of industry. 
The state was not consistent, however, varying its laws 
according as the needs of the treasury or of European 
diplomacy or of any passing crisis might direct. Thus 
prohibitions against foreign goods were often maintained, 
while at other times the greatest freedom of entry was 
allowed. In the treaties of peace of the sixteenth century 
care to safeguard the commercial interests of Spain was 
employed, but in the seventeenth century they were often 
sacrificed through the indiscretions of ministers or for 
political reasons. Thus Spain s need of allies against 
France occasioned the grant of a right for the free entry of 
goods into Spain (but not into the colonies) to the Prot 
estant Netherlands, England, Denmark, and Portugal, with 
reductions in duties. Treaties of 1665 and 1667 with Eng 
land abolished Spain s right to inspect English boats or to 
search the houses of British subjects, amounting to a virtual 
invitation to smuggling, which was in fact the result. Smug 
gling in connivance with Spanish officials became so general 
(not altogether by Englishmen) that it was regarded as a 
necessary evil. The government displayed a tendency to 
facilitate internal commerce, as by the suppression of 
interior customs lines, but the protective and regulative 
spirit of the Middle Ages was too often apparent. Thus 

ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700 331 

prices were fixed and exclusive rights of sale granted. A 
curious instance of the latter (though not out of keeping 
with the age) was the permit given to the religious orders 
of Madrid to open taverns for the sale of beverages accruing 
from their crops. When certain abuses and some scandal 
resulted the privilege was withdrawn, but was later re 
newed subject to certain conditions, one of which was that 
friars should not serve the wines to customers. 

Legislation with relation to money was particularly abun- Difficult!^ 
dant. One grave error of the past was constantly com- ov . er 
mitted from the time of Philip II to the close of the era, the coma e - 
debasement of the coinage with a view to relieving the dif 
ficulties of the treasury, but the results were not more 
favorable than in former years. Despite governmental care 
in the matter of coinage, diversity of coins was still a prob 
lem. In addition to the national moneys there were regional 
pieces and numerous foreign coins. Attempts were made 
to fix the relation between them, but without great suc 
cess. One factor which was not appreciated at the time was 
that of the cheapening of money through the enormous 
importation of precious metals from the Americas, resulting 
in a corresponding advance in prices. The high prices were 
ascribed to the exportation of precious metals from Spain, 
and stringent laws were passed to prevent it. It was diffi 
cult, however, to keep the gold and silver in the country. 

The national record of the House of Austria in public Scant _ 
works cannot be said to have been good. The need for more attention 
and better roads was generally recognized, but unless they 
suited military purposes or were to be made use of in a royal 
progress, or journey, the state would rarely build them. 
Municipalities and groups of merchants (especially the 
cmsulados) did something, but were hampered by the 
centralizing spirit of the government. A license from the 
Cmsejo Real was required, even though the state were not 
to pay. There were too few roads, and existing highways 
were as a general rule in a bad state of repair. Many 
bridges were constructed by the government in the six 
teenth century, but only a few in the century following. 
Plans were also discussed for deepening the channels of 


Spain s great rivers, but that of the Tagus alone received 
attention, and the work to that end by Philip II was de 
stroyed by the negligence of his successors. In like manner 
irrigation on a large scale was planned, but scarcely anything 
was accomplished. On the other hand this period marked 
the beginning of a mail service as an auxiliary of economic 
life; it was due to the state only in that the government 
granted a monopoly of the privilege to a private individual. 
Between 1580 and 1685 the extension of the service to 
foreign countries was brought about. Naturally the whole 
system was as yet defective from the modern standpoint. 
The government did expend moneys, however, for military 
objects and state buildings. Ports were built the length 
and breadth of the Spanish world, although many of them 
were allowed to decay in the seventeenth century. Royal 
palaces and houses of recreation and several splendid churches 
for royal use, all of which added to the glamor of monarchy, 
were built at state expense. The municipalities also erected 
public edifices, such as merchants 7 exchange buildings and 
city halls. 

Foreigners One of the most controversial questions of the era was that 
in Spain o f the entry of foreigners into the economic life of the penin- 
and legis- sl j a This had begun to be a factor (without referring now 
cerning " * ^ e ear ^ er arrival of Moslem and Jewish elements) in the 
them. reign of the Catholic Kings, but it was a much more promi 
nent issue in the period of the House of Austria. It was 
complicated by the fact that certain groups of foreigners 
might be welcomed (laborers for example), while others 
(merchants and manufacturers in particular) were not, but 
all elements would be both wanted and opposed by some 
class of the Spanish people at any given time. In general, 
popular opinion whether of rich or poor was adverse to 
foreigners. At times the kings yielded to the complaints 
of the people and passed restrictive laws, but at other times, 
urged on by financial needs and political aims, they took the 
contrary course. Dependent as they were upon foreign 
money-lenders the kings could not refuse to grant the privi 
leges and monopolies which their creditors exacted as se 
curity. It would seem, however, that by far the greater 

ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700 333 

number of the foreigners were engaged in the less remuner 
ative occupations. A writer of the seventeenth century 
says that there were 120,000 foreigners in domestic service, 
and goes on to say that they also engaged in such occupations 
as street hawking, the keeping of retail shops of all varieties 
(sellers of meat, wine, cakes, etc.), and the mechanical trades, 
including even those of porter and vendor of water. In 
1680 the French ambassador estimated that there were 77,000 
of his countrymen in Spain, many of whom were farm labor 
ers, but there were considerable numbers in various other 
occupations, ranging from the wealthy merchant down to 
the lowly shepherd or peddler. Other nationalities were 
also prominent. Laws were passed limiting the number of 
trades in which foreigners could engage, but they seem to 
have been without avail, for both the complaints and the 
legislation were often repeated. The victory of the foreign 
element began to be more apparent by the middle of the 
seventeenth century. Philip IV enacted laws to encourage 
immigration, because of the scarcity of labor, and per 
mitted a foreigner who had lived for many years in Spain 
and married a Spanish woman to enjoy privileges little 
short of those of a native. Similar laws were made in the 
reign of Charles II. 

The economic status of Spain in this era could be more Statistics 
clearly set forth if it were possible to have fairly reliable data of popu- 
as to population. In the middle of the sixteenth century lation * 
there may have been about six and three quarter millions 
of people in Spain. By the end of the century some esti 
mates hold that the numbers had increased to perhaps eight 
and a half millions, but there is ground for doubting these 
assertions. Figures for the seventeenth century are even 
more uncertain, but there is a general agreement that the 
population declined. One estimate makes the population 
of Spain 5,700,000 at the end of the era. Misery, idleness, Prevalence 
and vagabondage were characteristic of Spanish life in the of vaga- 
late sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century; it 
has been estimated that there were 150,000 vagabonds at 
the close of the sixteenth century whose principal occupa 
tions were begging, thieving, and prostitution. It is true 



Causes of 

that a like state of affairs existed in other countries, and that 
many foreigners were included in this element in the penin 
sula, but conditions were probably worse in Spain than else 
where in western Europe. 

Much has been written about the causes of vagabondage 
in Spain. The principal causes undoubtedly were economic. 
Foreign writers have charged it to Spanish pride and scorn 
of manual labor as well as to a certain native laziness. These 
allegations are true to some extent, flowing naturally from 
the circumstances of the history of Spain. Slavery had been 
perhaps more general and long-continuing in the peninsula 
than in other parts of Europe, and the slaves had usually 
been Moslem in faith; thus Spaniards might naturally be 
disinclined to do the work of slaves and infidels, and the same 
spirit would be present on its religious side to make them 
object to working in company with the questionably orthodox 
Moriscos. The general desire of Spaniards to be regarded as 
of noble blood also tended to make manual labor unpopular, 
since there was a strong class prejudice that nobles should 
not engage in such work. Finally, the ease of entry into 
religious orders had rendered escape from toil possible for a 
great number, and had increased the sentiment against 
laboring with one s hands. The only way out for a great 
many was the life of a vagabond. The sudden wealth 
acquired by individuals in the Americas reacted psychologi 
cally to make the necessarily slow accretions of property in 
Spain an irksome prospect. The exaltation of military 
glory had the same general effect, but as the Spanish armies 
were small this occupation was not open to everybody, and 
its perils and irregularities in pay made not a few hesitate 
to enter it. Furthermore, there were many contemporary 
writers, Cervantes among them, who pointed out that the 
life of a vagabond had a certain appeal for many Spaniards ; 
young men of good family not infrequently joined bands of 

The poverty of Spain was general by the middle of the 
seventeenth century, and the state of the country got 
steadily worse thereafter. Bread riots frequently served as 
a reminder to the authorities, who indeed made many attempts 

ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700 335 

to remedy the situation. Their measures to attack the root Inability 
of the evil were worse than useless, however, being based on of tiie g v 
economic misconceptions or being discontinued (when they rnmellt 
might have proved beneficial) if they ran counter to govern- ^^ tlie 
mental policies. Direct legislation against vagabondage situation, 
was frequent, but was evaded as often as enacted. When 
people were forbidden to remain in the country without 
working, the vagabonds made a showing of becoming porters 
or of engaging in other like occupations, under the guise of 
which they continued their loose practices. When these 
occupations were limited they were to be found as theo 
retically in the service of the noble or wealthy, whom social 
pride induced to have as many in their following as possible. 
When this custom was attacked direct evasion of the laws 
was rendered possible through charitable institutions, 
especially through the free soup-kitchens of the religious 
orders. On the benevolent side the problem was also 
approached through the founding of poor-houses, although 
this method was not yet greatly developed, and through the 
conversion of the former public granaries (p6sitos), in which 
stores of grain were kept to guard against the possibility of 
famine, into pious institutions for the gift or loan of food 
supplies to the poor. 

The fact of Spain s economic decline has perhaps been Content 
pointed out with sufficient clearness. It is now pertinent to ponu-y 
sum up the causes which had produced it. According to opinions a* 
Altamira there was "a great variety of causes, accumulated ^ us< f so f 
upon a country which entered the modern age with weak and Spain s 
incipient economic energies, a country whose governments economic 
let themselves be dragged into an imperialistic policy (in decline, 
great part forced upon them by problems traceable to 
Ferdinand the Catholic and the fatal inheritance of Charles 
I), neglecting, more for lack of means than intentionally, 
those measures which could best contribute to better the 
productive power and well-being of the country." This is 
an epitome not only of the causes for Spain s economic 
decline in this period but also of modern Spanish history. 
It places the fault where it belongs, on Spanish imperialism 
with its train of costly wars, a policy which Spain might have 



by later 

followed so far as the Americas were concerned, but which 
proved an impossible strain on her resources when carried 
beyond the Spanish peninsula into Europe. This was one 
of the principal causes assigned at the time. Some others 
may also be enumerated. The increase in the akabala and 
in other taxes was often mentioned as a principal cause, 
although it is easy to see how this might have been a result 
of the warfare. In like manner another group of causes set 
forth at that time might well have been results of the eco 
nomic decline, such as the following : emigration to the colo 
nies ; the lack of government aid to industries ; the invasion 
of foreign goods and foreigners into Spam ; and the decline 
in population. Other causes alleged by contemporaries and 
deserving of prominent mention, though less important than 
that of the European wars, were these : the repugnance of 
Spaniards for manual labor; bad financial administration 
by the government ; the prodigality of the kings in granting 
favors and exemptions ; the governmental practice of fixing 
the prices of agricultural products; the evil of absentee 
landlordism, especially in the case of the latifundia, which 
were not developed to the extent of their resources ; waste 
of the means of production in luxury; the great number of 
convents and monasteries; and the exemptions enjoyed by 
a vast number of individuals. 

Later writers have put emphasis on other matters. Some 
present-day historians assign the expulsion of the Moriscos as 
the principal cause of the economic decline. It did leave 
many trades without hands, and temporarily depopulated 
whole districts, but it seems hardly accurate to regard it 
as anything more than one of many contributory causes. 
Writers of the seventeenth century were impressed by its 
religious and political advantages, and do not seem to have 
regarded it as of serious economic import. The economic 
effects of the conquest of the Americas have also been set 
forth to account for Spain s decline. That conquest in 
duced the already-mentioned get-rich-quick spirit among 
Spaniards, and encouraged the false economic idea that 
precious metals are the basic form of wealth, leading to the 
assignment of an undue importance to them. More serious, 

ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700 337 

perhaps, was the fact that the Americas drained Spain of 
some of her best and most virile blood. The number of 
Spaniards who went to America, however, was not excessive, 
little more than the number of Englishmen who crossed 
the seas in the seventeenth century. Furthermore, Spain 
most certainly secured a vast financial profit out of the 
Americas, not only from precious metals, but also from 
commerce and the employment which thousands obtained 
both in Spain and in the colonies. Spanish soil was indeed 
not fertile enough to support a policy of European imperial 
ism, and that argument has been put forward, but the fault 
was less in the land itself, which in other days had produced 
more richly, than in the methods (or lack of them) employed 
to develop its capacities. Foreign commercial vicissitudes, 
which are also alleged to account for Spain s economic fall, 
did indeed help to bring it about, such, for example, as 
the disastrous consequences of the silting in of the port of 
Bruges, which city had been one of the best purchasers of 
Spam s raw materials. While it is indeed impossible to 
assign any single event or condition of affairs as the sine qua 
nan of Spain s decadence, one factor stands out from the rest, 
however, as the most important, that of the oft-mentioned 
policy of Spanish imperialism in Europe. 


SCIENCE, 1516-1700 

Causes of THE sixteenth and seventeenth centuries represent the 
Spain s in- highest point in the history of Spanish intellectual achieve- 
tellectual men j n science, literature, and art. Two manifestations 
in tnis erL characterized the era : an abundant productivity which was 
as high in quality as it was great in amount ; and the diffu 
sion of Spanish learning in the other countries of the civilized 
world, so that for the first time (except for the transmission 
of Moslem culture) Christian Spain became a vital factor 
in European thought, whereas in former years she had merely 
received the instruction of others. The reasons for this in 
tellectual outburst were various. For one thing the natural 
evolution from the past seemed to render inevitable a high 
degree of attainment. For another, the general effects of 
the Renaissance in Europe made themselves felt in Spain. 
In the third place, this seems to have been the era of the ripe 
maturity of the Spanish people, when they were at the height 
of their capacity in every walk of life. Finally, as has hap 
pened so many times in the history of other nations, the very 
fact of the establishment of a great empire was bound to 
react both materially and psychologically to produce an 
unwonted expansion intellectually. Spanish imperialism 
in Europe undoubtedly contributed much to the civilization 
of the peninsula, but it is not too much to say that the great 
est influence came from Spain s conquests in the new world. 
These operated directly to make Spain an innovator in scien 
tific thought, and provided the first noteworthy Boaterial 
for mental stimulus in the era. If the better known mani- 



festations of polite literature and painting were not directly 
traceable to the attainment of a colonial empire., other achieve 
ments were, and the indirect effect of the overseas conquests 
should not be left out of consideration even in the case of 
those factors which acknowledged Italy as their principal 
source of inspiration. 

There were many social manifestations of Spanish intel- Social 
lectuality, such as the eagerness with which men sought an manifes- 
education, the honors paid to men of letters in an age when * atio ? s oi 
military glory might tend to absorb attention, the encyclo- ^S^ 
pedic knowledge demonstrated by scholars who were at one tuality 
and the same time proficient in widely divergent fields, the and its 
circumstance that women won marked distinction (together Ration 
with the fact that their achievements were well received), ^ ntime * 
and the fondness of the upper classes for social functions of 
a literary character, not a few of which developed from a 
simple gathering at some noble s house into the formation 
of clubs or academies of an intellectual character. This 
flourishing state of affairs endured a much shorter time than 
might have been expected from the force of its initial momen 
tum; in a broad sense the intellectual decadence of the 
country accompanied, or perhaps resulted from, the political 
and economic decline, but just as in the case of these factors 
it was not equal in celerity or in completeness in all of the 
many-sided aspects of Spanish intellectual life. Further 
more, the fall was so rapid in some respects, and from such 
a high point in all, that the ultimate degradation, though 
deep enough, seemed by comparison to be worse than it was. 
At any rate, the state of intellectuality at its best was suf 
ficiently great to deserve the title which has been applied 
to the period of its expression, that of the siglo de oro (golden 
century) in Spanish science, literature, and art. 

A question arises as to the application of the term and the Applica- 
duration of the period of the $iglo de oro. The seventeenth tion a ? d 
century has usually been regarded as the golden age, for it duration 
was then that the greatest names in polite literature and ^gi 
painting appeared. In fact, however, the era of intellectual OT0 . 
brilliance dates from an early point in the sixteenth century 
in the reigu of Charles I, lasting for about a century and a 


half, past the middle of the seventeenth century. The 
general desire for knowledge, which was so marked in the 
first half of the sixteenth century, had already ebbed away 
by the end of the reign of Philip II. The greatest achieve 
ments in didactic and scientific literature belong to the 
sixteenth century, and, indeed, most of the great writers 
and painters who won fame in the reigns of Philip III and 
Philip IV got their start, or at least were born, in the time 
of Philip II. Great results were obtained in both periods, 
but the stimulus came for the most part in the sixteenth 

Theuni- The aristocratic character of intellectual attainments in 
versities. the siglo de oro was reflected hi that of the institutions of 
learning which were founded. In addition to the eight uni 
versities existing in 1516, twenty-one were added in the six 
teenth century, and five in the seventeenth, making a total 
of thirty-four in all. Salamanca and Alcala stood forth as 
the leading universities, although outranked in legal studies 
by Valladolid. Salamanca had the more ample curriculum, 
with some sixty professorships, but Alcala, with forty-two 
professorial chairs, was distinguished for the scientific labors 
of its faculty. Salamanca was more largely attended, hav 
ing 6778 students in 1584, a number which had declined to 
1955 in 1682, while Alcala had 1949 in 1547, 2061 in 1650, 
and 1637 in 1700. The medieval type of internal manage 
ment remained as the essential basis of university adminis 
tration, characterized by the close connection between the 
university and the civil authorities (to which latter the former 
were in a measure subjected), by an intimate relationship with 
the cathedral or other local churches, and by the ecclesias 
tical origin of many of the university rents. The universi 
ties did not become religious establishments, however, even 
though churchmen founded the greater number of them. As 
time went on, the longs displayed a tendency to intervene 
in university We, as by the sending of visitadores, or by im 
posing their candidates for professorships upon the univer 
sities, but they did not go so far as to deprive the univer 
sities of their economic, legal, and scientific independence. 
There were also various other institutions of higher educa- 


tion. One of them, the Estudios Reales de San Isidro of Jesuit 
Madrid, founded early in the reign of Philip IV for *he edu- colleges, 
cation of the sons of the greater nobility, ranked with the 
universities. Jesuit teachers were installed. This was not 
the first instance of Jesuit instruction in the peninsula. By 
their vows the Jesuits were obliged to found "colleges," but 
this term meant houses for study, only in that the members 
of the order living in these institutions pursued investiga 
tions there. Gradually, outside pupils began to be accepted 
by the Jesuits, who soon won a great reputation for their 
efficiency as teachers. Their teaching was markedly in 
fluenced by Renaissance ideals, for the study of classical 
authors formed one of the principal elements in their curric 
ulum. They devoted themselves to the education of the 
wealthy classes, -leaving the field of vocational preparation 
to the universities. Apart from the Jesuit colleges there Other 
were various schools, both religious and secular, primarily schools of 
for the study of Latin. They were in essence schools of 
literature, at which students were given practice in the writ 
ing of poetry and the reciting of verses, both Latin and Cas- 
tilian. It is said that there were more than four thousand 
of these institutions in 1619, although their numbers declined 
greatly with the advance of the century. In addition there 
were many schools of a purely professional character, such 
as those for the study of religion, war, medicine, and nautical 
science. The school of nautical science of the Casa de Can* 
tratacifri of Seville merits special attention. Among the The Casa 
manifold functions of the Casa in its relation to the Americas de Contra- 
was that of the pursuit of scientific studies to facilitate over- tac *fa *& a 
seas communication, and this was carried out to such an 
extent that the Casa was a veritable maritime university. 
Mathematics, cosmography, geography, cartography, navi 
gation, the construction and use of nautical instruments, 
and military science (in so far as it related to artillery) were 
taught at the Casa, and in nearly all of these respects that 
institution not only outranked the others in Spain but was 
able also to add materially to the sum total of world knowl 
edge. Primary education continued to be neglected. The 
current belief was that it was unnecessary unless one intended 



Neglect of 



Great age 
of print 

nings of 

Luis Vives 

in philo 

to pursue a professional career. . The education of the masses 
for the sake of raising the general level of culture, or even 
for technical advancement, was a problem which was not as 
yet comprehended. Such primary schools as there were, 
were usually ecclesiastical or private foundations. Read 
ing, writing, arithmetic, and Christian doctrine were the 
subjects taught. Taken as a whole it will be seen that the 
number of teaching establishments had vastly increased 
over that of the preceding eras. An understanding of the 
superior facilities available for the upper classes would not 
be complete without a reference to the extraordinary diffu 
sion of printing in this era. Although the publication of 
works was subject to various conditions, printed books fairly 
came into their own, for the first tune in the history of the 
peninsula. A number of great libraries were formed. It is 
worthy of mention, too, that it was at this time that care 
began to be taken in the accumulation of public documents 
in archives. In 1558 Philip II founded an archive at Rome, 
and in 1563 made a beginning of the famous state archive 
at Simancas. 

The revival of classical studies, which made available the 
writings of many Greek philosophers whose works had been 
unknown to the medieval scholars, and the complex move 
ment of ideas engendered by the Protestant Reformation 
and the Catholic Reaction were the fundamental causes of 
the flourishing state of theological and philosophical studies 
in this period, especially in the sixteenth century. While 
this was by no means confined to Spain, the peninsula fur 
nished its quota to the great names of the period. The phi 
losopher Luis Vives (1492-1540) may be mentioned by way 
of illustration. Vives, who spent most of his life in Flanders 
and in England, in which latter country he was the 
teacher of Mary Tudor, the later queen of England, was 
regarded by contemporaries as a philosopher of the first rank, 
on a plane with Erasmus. Nearly a century before Francis 
Bacon (1561-1626) suggested the necessity for the observa 
tion of nature as the basis of knowledge rather than the 
blind following of classical texts, Vives had pronounced the 
same idea. Of importance, too, were his pedagogical doc- 


trlnes, which profoundly influenced Comenius. The case 
of Vives was not unique, for the ideas which were later to 
be made famous by Reid, Descartes, Montaigne, Charron, 
and others had already been expressed by Spaniards of the 
sixteenth century. The common note in all their works was 
that of great liberty of thought in all things other than the 
Catholic faith, and in particular that of a reaction against 
submission to consecrated authority, which brought them into 
opposition to the slavish acceptance of classical writings so 
much in vogue among the Humanists. In so doing, the Span 
ish philosophers were only expressing their national traits, 
for the Spaniards have always been able to reconcile their 
support of absolutism in government and of the principle of 
authority in religion with a degree of individualism that 
cannot be found in lands whose political and religious ideas 
have been more democratic. Partly on this account Spanish 
thought has not received due credit, for, though there were 
Spanish philosophers, there was no school of Spanish phi 
losophy. Furthermore, sweeping originality of thought on 
a universal basis was precluded by the necessity of subor 
dinating all ideas to Catholic doctrine, while the philosophers 
who have attained to the greatest fame in modern times ex 
pressed themselves with independence in that respect, or at 
least without the preoccupation of not departing from it. 
That Spaniards were capable of originality within the field 
of religion itself was proved by the development of Spanish 
mysticism, already alluded to. 

In jurisprudence and politics Spanish writers gained an Important 
indisputable title to originality of thought, of positive in- character 
fluence on the civilization of other countries. This was due ^j t ^ 
in part to the continuous warfare, the grave religious prob- on j^^ 
lems, and the many questions arising out of the conquest, prudence, 
colonization, and retention of the Americas, but it was also politics, 
a result of a natural tendency in Spanish character to occupy and 
itself with the practical aspects of affairs, directing phil- econonucs - 
osophical thought toward its applications in actual life, 
for example, in the case of matters to which the above-men 
tioned events gave rise. Spanish jurists achieved renown 
in various phases of jurisprudence, such as in international, 



and the 
new sense 
of his 

political, penal, and canonical law, in the civil law of Rome 
and of the Spanish peninsula, and in legal procedure. Not 
Grotius (1583-1645), but his Spanish predecessors of the 
sixteenth century laid the foundations for international law, 
and the great Dutch jurist more than once acknowledged 
his indebtedness to Spaniards, who, like Vitoria and Vazquez, 
had provided him with rich materials for the thesis he set 
forth. Among the writers on political law may be mentioned 
Solorzano, whose Politico, indiana, or Government of the 
Indies (1629-1639), was a noteworthy exposition and de 
fence of the Spanish colonial system. In economics, too, 
the Spaniards were necessarily outstanding figures in their 
day, since the Spanish empire was the greatest and for a 
time the most powerful of the period. National resources, 
the income and expenditures of the state, and the method of 
the enjoyment of landed property were the three principal 
questions to engage the attention of the Spanish economists. 
When Martinez de la Mata declared that labor was the 
only true source of wealth, he was in so much the precursor 
of Adam Smith (1723-1790). Some economists expressed 
ideas which sound strangely like those set forth by Spencer, 
Wallace, Tolstoy, and others in the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries, such as the following : that immovable property 
should be taken away from the private individuals possess 
ing it, and be redistributed under the control of the state ; 
and that society should be considered as having legal title to 
lands, giving only the user to individuals. Luis Vives was 
one of the representatives of these ideas. The principles of 
these economists found little support in practice, and cannot 
be said to have attained general acceptance among the 
Spanish writers on these subjects. 

The advance of historical studies in this period, especially 
in the sixteenth century, was nothing short of remarkable. 
For the first time history won a right to be considered apart 
from polite literature. Two novelties marked the era, one 
of them relative to the content of history, and the other 
concerning the methods of investigation, and composition. 
Formerly history had reduced itself to little more than the 
external political narrative, dealing with wars, kings, and 


heroes, being more rhetorical in form than scientific. The 
new sense of content was represented principally by the 
philosopher Luis Vives and by the historian Pdez de Castro, 
one-time chronicler of Charles I. Vives gave his opinion 
that history should deal with all the manifestations of social 
life. Paez de Castro stands forth, however, as the man who 
most clearly expressed the new ideas. According to him 
the history of a land should include the study of its geography, 
of the languages of its peoples, of the dress, laws, religions, 
social institutions, general customs, literature, arts, sciences, 
and even the aspects of nature of the land in so far as these 
things affected the actions of men. Pdez de Castro was also 
a follower of P6rez de Guzman and Hernando del Pulgar in 
his appreciation of the psychological element in history. 
The most exacting methodologists of the present day do not 
require more than did Paez de Castro nearly four centuries 
ago. Incidentally, it becomes clear that the credit ordinarily 
assigned to Voltaire (1694-1778) and Hume (1711-1776) 
as innovators in this respect belongs rather to Spaniards of 
the sixteenth century. Vives and P&ez de Castro were not 
alone in their concept of history. On the other hand they 
were not able to put their ideas into practice, and were not 
followed by the majority of the writers on methodology. 
Nevertheless, all were agreed that the education of the his 
torian should be encyclopedic in character, an ideal which 
necessarily involved a measurable attainment of the plan of 
Paez de Castro. 

If these concepts as to historical content were not fully Zurita 
realized, those with regard to the methods of investigation and 
and criticism found a worthy representation in the majority ^??^ es 
of the historians of the era. To be sure, some of the great advance 
writers, like Florian de Ocampo and Mariana, displayed too in bis- 
much credulity or a disposition to imagine events for which torical 
they lacked documentary proof. Furthermore, this was a investiga- 
thriving period of forgeries, when writers invented classical ^2^^ 
authors, chronicles, letters, and inscriptions with which to 
support their narratives. Still, the evil brought about the 
remedy; the necessity for criticism was so great that its 
application became customary. In addition, men sought 


documents, if only to disprove the forgeries, with the result 
that the employment of source material and the use of the 
sciences auxiliary to history were a factor in the works of 
the numerous great historians of the time. The highest 
representatives of the new sense of historical analysis were 
the official chroniclers of Charles I and Philip II. First in 
point of time was Flori&n de Ocampo, whose Crdnica general 
(General chronicle) was published in 1543. While giving 
too free rein to the imagination, his Cr&nica had a fairly com 
plete documental basis in some of its parts. Far superior 
was the Anales de Aragdn, or Annals of Aragon (1562-1580), 
of Jer6nimo urita, or Zurita, which in its use of archive 
material was the greatest historical work of the sixteenth 
century. Of equal rank with Zurita was Ambrosio de 
Morales, the continuer of Ocampo, whose Crdnica was pub 
lished in 1574-1575. Morales, who was a distinguished 
palaeographist and archaeologist, made a notable use of 
inscriptions, coins, manuscripts, ancient books, and other 
ancient evidences. While the influence of Gibbon (1737- 
1794) on historiography in these respects is not to be denied, 
it is only fair to point out the merits of his predecessors of 
the Spanish siglo de oro in precisely those qualities for which 
the great Englishman has won such signal fame. 

The his- l^e historian of this era who attained the greatest reputa- 
torian tion, though far from equalling Vives and Paez de Castro 
Mariana, on the one hand or Zurita and Morales on the other, was 
the Jesuit Mariana. In 1592-1595 he published his history 
of Spain in Latin (Historia de rebus Hispanice), which he 
brought out in Castilian in 1601 under the title Historia 
general de Espana (General history of Spain). This work, 
which is still one of the most widely read of all Spanish 
histories, was remarkable for its composition and style, in 
which respects it was superior to others of the period, though 
otherwise inferior to the best works of the time. It was 
intended to be popular, however, on which account it should 
not be judged too critically from the standpoint of technique. 
Mariana s history was an external political narrative, from 
the Castilian point of view, of the events which had developed 
the national unity of Spain. His own bias, politically and 



The bib- 

otherwise, was only too apparent, besides which he displayed 
the faults of credulity and imagination already alluded to. 
Nevertheless, Mariana made use of manuscripts and the 
evidence of inscriptions and coins, though not to the same 
degree as Zurita, Morales, and others. His style was tinged 
with the Humanistic ideals of the period, being strongly in 
fluenced by Livy. Many other students of history or of the 
sciences auxiliary to history are deserving of recognition, 
and at least one of them demands mention, Nicolas Antonio, 
the greatest bibliographer of his time. In 1672 he pub- 
lished his Bibliotheca hispana (republisbed in 1788 as the 
Bibliotheca hispana nova y or Catalogue of new Spanish works) 
of all Spanish works since 1500, and in 1696 completed his 
Bibhotfoca hispana xetus, or Catalogue of old Spanish works 
(published in 1788), of Spanish books, manuscript and 
printed, prior to the sixteenth century. Deserving of special 
notice was a remarkable group of historians of the Americas, Historians 
such as Fernando Colon (Ferdinand Columbus), Fernandez of the 
de Oviedo, Lopez de Gomara, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, America* 
Bernab Cobos, Gutierrez de Santa Clara, Juan de Castella- 
nos, Acosta, Garcilaso de la Vega, Herrera, Cieza de Leon, 
Zarate, Jerez, Dorantes de Carranza, Gongora, Hevfa, Leon 
Pinelo, Mendieta, Pizarro, Sahagfin, Suarez de Peralta, 
Alvarado, Torquemada, Solis, Cortes, Las Casas, Cervantes 
de Salazar, Lopez de Velasco, the already cited Solorzano, 
Perez de Ribas, Tello, Florencia, Vetancurt, and many 
others. The works of some of these men were written in 
Spain as official chronicles of the Indies, while those of others 
were prepared independently in the Americas. Religious 
history was abundantly produced, as also were books of 
travel, especially those based on the expeditions and dis 
coveries in the Indies. In all of the historical production 
of the era, not merely in the work of Mariana, the influence 
of classical models was marked. 

If the output of Spaniards in the domain of the natural 
sciences was not so great as in the realm of philosophy, juris 
prudence, and history, it was nevertheless distinctively 
original in character, necessarily so, since the discovery 
of new lands and new routes, to say nothing of the effects of 


The con- continuous warring, not only invited investigation, but also 
quest of made it imperative, in order to overcome hitherto unknown 
icsTsand*" difficulties. In dealing with the Americas a practice was 
resultant ^ade of gathering geographical data which for its corn- 
Spanish pleteness has scarcely ever been surpassed. Explorers wear 
achieve- required by law to make the most detailed observations as 
ments in to chances, general geographical features, character of the 
sdertre so ^ pr ^ 110 ^ animals, and peoples, with a view to the col- 
geography, lection and the study of their reports at the Casa de Conr 
andcartog- tratari&n, for which purpose the post of cosmographical 
raphy. chronicler of the Indies was created. Equal amplitude of 
data was also to be found in books of travel. To enumerate 
the contributors to geographical knowledge it would be 
necessary to name the hundreds of Spanish voyages and ex 
plorations in the new world of which accounts were written 
by their leaders or by friars accompanying the expeditions. 
A noteworthy compendium of these reports has recently 
been published, although it was compiled in the sixteenth 
century, the Geografia y descripcidn universal de las Indias 
(Geography and general description of the Indies) for the 
years 1571 to 1574 by Juan Lopez de Velasco. Something 
of a like nature was achieved for the peninsula itself in the 
reign of Philip II. As was inevitable, Spaniards were prom 
inent in cartography. Aside from the men who accompanied 
the expeditions in the new world, the most famous cartog 
raphers of the time were those of the Casa de Contratacifa, 
many of whom made contributions to cartographical science, 
as well as additions to the mapping of the world. One in 
teresting instance was the use of maps with equi-distant 
polar projections years before Mercator in 1569 first employed 
this method, which was henceforth to bear his name. Span 
ish innovators have not received the credit they deserve, 
principally because their results were in many cases delib 
erately kept secret by the Spanish government, which wished 
to retain a monopoly of the information, as well as of the 
trade, of the new world. Spanish achievements, it will be 
observed, were designed to meet practical ends, rather than 
to promote universal knowledge, unfortunately for the 
fame of the individuals engaged in scientific production. 


Naturally, these accomplishments in geography and cartog- Similarly, 
raphy necessitated a solid foundation in the mathematical Spanish 
and physical sciences, and such a basis in fact existed. The aci ^ v f~ 
leading scholars, especially those of the Casa, who always themathe- 
stood out from the rest, displayed a remarkable conjunction matical 
of theory and practice. At the same time that they were and 
writing doctrinal treatises about cosmography, astronomy, Physical 
and mathematics, they were able to make maps and nautical sciences - 
instruments with their own hands, and not infrequently to 
invent useful appliances. Problems in connection with the 
variations of the magnetic needle, the exact calculation of 
longitude, the observation of eclipses, and the perfection 
of the astrolabe were among those which preoccupied stu 
dents of that day. The advancement of Spaniards is evi 
denced by the facility with which the theory of Copernicus 
(that the sun, and not the earth, is the centre of the solar 
system) was accepted in Spain, when it was rejected else 
where. It is noteworthy, too, that when Pope Gregory XIII 
proposed to correct the calendar, he sought information of 
Spanish scholars, whose suggestions were followed. In the 
same year (1582) that the Gregorian calendar went into 
effect in Rome, it was adopted also in Spain. In nautical 
science, as might have been expected from the practical 
character of Spanish studies, Spaniards were preeminent. 
Among the more important names was that of Alarcon, 
better known for his voyage of 1540 in the Gulf of California 
and along the western coast of the California peninsula. 
Advance in naval construction accompanied that of navi 
gation proper. The new world provided Spaniards with 
an opportunity, of which they did not fail to avail them 
selves, for progress in the sciences of physics and chem 
istry, always with practical ideals in mind. Theories were 
set^forth as to such matters as cyclones, terrestrial mag 
netism, atmospheric pressure, and even telegraphy, while 
mechanical inventions were made, because these things 
were related to specific problems. The most remarkable 
example of the heights to which Spaniards attained in physics 
and chemistry was in the application of these sciences to 
metallurgy. When the mines of the Americas were first 


exploited, it was necessary to resort to German methods, 
but it was not long before Spaniards easily took first rank 
in the world. A work by Alonso Barba, for example, pub 
lished in 1640, was translated into all of the leading Euro 
pean languages, and served as the principal guide of metal 
lurgists for more than a century. As engineers Spaniards 
lagged behind other European peoples; engineering works 
were not greatly involved in the colonization of the Americas. 
It is interesting, however, to note the numerous studies of 
projects by Spaniards of the sixteenth century, among 
them, Cortes, Saavedra, Galvan, Lopez de Gomara, Gil 
Gonzdlez Davila, Salcedo, Esquivel, and Mercado, with 
a view to the construction of a canal at the Isthmus of Pana- 
m to facilitate communication with the Pacific. 

Progress Finally, the science of medicine, which had already en- 
m . tered upon an experimental stage in the reign of the Catholic 
medicine. g;i n g Sj advanced to a point which enabled it to compare, not 
unfavorably, with the achievements in other branches of 
precise knowledge. Medicine, too, had the Americas to 
thank for much of its progress, owing to discoveries of botan 
ical and mineralogical specimens of a medicinal character. 
The universities of Salamanca, Valencia, and Barcelona took 
the lead in medical studies, and furnished most of the great 
names of the era. In the seventeenth century medical science 
experienced a marked decline, due among other things to a 
return to an imitation of classical methods. Hippocrates 
and other Greek writers were regarded as incapable of mis 
take, wherefore investigation and experiment ceased to hold 
the place they had won in the sixteenth century. Some men 
endeavored to continue the experimental tradition, but, as 
indeed elsewhere in Europe, they were despised by the classi 
cal element, who arrogated to themselves the honor of pos 
sessing the only real medical knowledge, charging their op 
ponents, usually with truth, with employing experimentation 
because they were unable to read the accounts of classical 
remedies set forth in Greek and Latin. Nevertheless, it 
was to experimental methods, principally in the sixteenth 
century, that the discovery of many hitherto unknown cures 
was due. 



THE general conditions affecting literature and art in the Victory of 
siglo de oro have already been- alluded to in the preceding Castilian 
chapter. The influence of Humanism and the impulse of ? ver . 
the Renaissance were more directly felt in polite literature tongues in 
than in didactic and scientific works. Furthermore, this polite 
type of literature was more easily understood by people at literature 
large than the more special studies, and it is not surprising an ^f^ 1 
that Spain s intellectual greatness should have been appre- J^J^^^ 
ciated by the majority of the educated classes in terms of O f produo* 
poetry, the novel, and the drama, together with the mani- tivity. 
festatione of the age in the fine arts. The very men who 
contributed works of a scientific character could not resist 
the appeal of belles lettres, and wrote books which not infre 
quently demonstrated their double right to homage. Knowl 
edge of Latin, Greek, and various modern languages, es 
pecially Italian and French, was more or less general among 
the educated classes, giving an opportunity for the satis 
faction of one s wishes to delve into a varied literature, and 
opening the way to foreign influences upon Castilian work. 
The day of French influence seemed for a time to have passed, 
however (although it returned with the decline in the later 
seventeenth century) ; rather, a current against it had set 
in. The effect of the other three languages was so great, 
however, that Castilian temporarily lost some of its prestige, 
which passed over especially to Latin and Italian. Most 
works of an erudite character now appeared in Latin, and 
that language was the official tongue of most of the courses 
in the universities. The church, too, lent its weight to Latin. 




tions to 

Nevertheless, Castilian was at no time in real danger. Any 
thing intended for popular consumption found its way into 
Castilian, and not a few notable scientific works employed 
that language. Save for a few inefficacious attempts of the 
Humanists to use Latin, the field of polite literature was 
captured wholly by the native tongue. This victory for 
national sentiment carried with it an exuberant outburst 
of productivity which affected all classes. Prior to this 
time the clergy had provided almost the only representatives 
to win fame in belles lettres; now, they were joined and 
rivalled, even outdone, by laymen, both soldiers and civil 
ians. The noble families caught the enthusiasm and made 
their houses centres for gatherings, and the kings themselves 
were carried along in the current. Charles I was exception 
ally fond of the novels of chivalry, which he used to have 
read aloud to him ; Philip II, himself little affected, toler 
ated the tastes of his daughters which led them to make 
poetry form a part of the palace distractions ; but it was 
under Philip IV that the royal love and patronage of liter 
ature attained to its highest point. Philip IV himself wrote 
comedies, and filled the palace with poets, dramatists, and 
writers of prose. Meanwhile, the general public got its first 
real opportunity to attend the theatre, and bought meri 
torious books (which printing now rendered available), 
while men discussed their favorite authors with the same 
ardor that they might their favorite bull-fighters. 

One of the principal studies of the Humanists was that of 
grammar, Lathi and Greek chiefly. The classical authors 
and the patristic writings of the medieval period occupied 
their attention, together with allied works in other languages, 
such as ancient Hebrew or modern Italian. The Spanish 
Humanists held a noteworthy place in the development of 
this movement in Europe. While many individuals might 
be named, Arias Montano was perhaps the greatest of Spain s 
representatives. Interest in language study carried Span 
iards far afield among contemporary tongues, and in one 
respect led to a remarkable contribution to knowledge. As 
conquerors and as missionaries Spaniards came in contact 
srith a variety of peonies hitherto unknown, or little knovm, 



to the world, from the numerous tribes of the Indians in the 
Americas to the Chinese and Japanese of the Far East. 
Many valuable data were accumulated in Spanish about these 
peoples and their customs, and their languages were studied 
and in many cases written down by Spaniards, who system 
atized them for the first time. Much of this material has 
only recently become available, but it ranks as an achieve 
ment of the siglo de oro; perhaps the more valuable parts 
were prepared in the sixteenth century. Meanwhile, the 
process of purifying Castilian grammar was constantly going 
on, and it is interesting to note the strong nationalistic ten 
dency in favor of a phonetic spelling as opposed to the ex 
pression of the etymological form. Rhetoric was regarded 
as a part of grammar, and it is easy to understand that in 
an age of Humanism the question of style should be a favor 
ite topic. 

It was in this period that the national theatre developed, 
and Spaniards displayed such originality and forcefulness as 
to make a profound impression on the dramatic literature 
of the world. At the outset of the reign of Charles I, Gil 
Vicente and Torres Naharro were continuing the tradition 
of Juan del Enzina with crude farces and allegorical religious 
plays. Despite the fact that these were generally acted in 
convents, they were so frequently of a licentious character 
that in 1548 their publication was forbidden. Meanwhile, 
classical plays and compositions written in imitation of the 
Latin and Greek masters were proving difficult competitors 
to the weakly groping Spanish stage. The regeneration of 
the national theatre was due to Lope de Rueda of Seville, 
whose name first appears in 1554. The greatness of Rueda 
was due primarily to his own acting, which gave him an op 
portunity to re-introduce Spanish plays and make a success 
of them. While staging translations of Latin and Italian 
works, Rueda wrote and played short acts of a dramatic and 
episodical character. Others carried on the task begun by 
Rueda until the machinery for the Spanish theatre was 
fairly well prepared for the works of the great masters, 
for example, the three-act comedy had developed, first em 
ployed by Francisco de Avendano. Cervantes wrote a num- 

Lope de 
Rueda and 
tlie de 
of the 



The great 
masters of 


her of plays, between 1583 and 1587, but while they were 
not without merit they were completely overshadowed by 
those of the great writers of dramatic literature. 

First of the great masters, chronologically, was Lope de 
Vega (1562-1635), who was also one of the most prolific 
writers of all time. It is said that he wrote 1800 comedies 
and 400 religious, allegorical plays (one of the leading types 
of the era), besides many shorter dialogues, of which number 
470 of the comedies and 50 of the plays have survived. His 
writings were not less admirable than numerous, and marked 
a complete break with the past. An inventive exuberance, 
well-sustained agreeability and charm, skill in the manage 
ment of fable and in the depiction of character, the eleva 
tion of women to a leading place in the dramatical plot (a 
feature without precedent), an instinct for theatrical effects, 
intensity of emotional expression, wit, naturalness and nobil 
ity of dialogue, and realism were the most noteworthy traits 
of his compositions, together with a variety in subject-matter 
which ventured into every phase of the history and contem 
porary customs of Spain. His defects were traceable mainly 
to his facility in production, such as a lack of plan and or 
ganization as a whole, wherefore it has been said that he 
wrote scenes and not complete plays, although his best 
works are not open to this charge. In the meantime, the 
paraphernalia of theatrical presentation had been perfected. 
In 1579 the first permanent theatre was built in Madrid, fol 
lowed quickly by the erection of others there and in the other 
large cities. Travelling companies staged plays in all parts 
of Spain, until the theatre became popular. If Lope de Vega 
profited from this situation, so also did the stage from him, 
for he provided it with a vehicle which fixed it in public favor 
at a time when the balance might have swung either way. 
The fame of Lope de Vega eclipsed that of his contemporaries, 
many of whom were deserving of high rank. In recent years 
one name has emerged from the crowd, that of Friar Gabriel 
TSlez, better known by his pseudonym, Tirso de Molina 
(1571-1658). In realism, depiction of character, profundity 
of ideas, emotion, and a sense of the dramatic he was the 
equal and at times the superior of Lope de Vega. The sue- 


eessor in fame and popularity of Lope de Vega, however, 
was Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681), whose com 
positions faithfully represented the devout Catholicism and 
chivalric ideals (exaggerating the fact) of his contemporaries. 
Calderon was above all a writer of religious, allegorical plays. 
In the domain of the profane his plays were too grave and 
rigid to adapt themselves to the comic, and they were char 
acterized by a certain monotony and artifice, a substitution 
of allegory for realism, and an excess of brilliance and lyrical 
qualities, often tinged with rhetoric and obscure classical 
allusions. Not only were these three masters and a number 
of others great in Spain, but also they clearly influenced the 
dramatic literature of the world; it would be necessary to 
include most of the famous European playwrights of the 
seventeenth century and some of later times if a list were 
to be made of those who drew inspiration from the Spanish 
theatre of the siglo de oro. 

The history of the Spanish novel in this era reduces itself The three 
to a discussion of three leading types, those of chivalry, love, type? of 
and social customs, the last-named an outgrowth from the ^^^ 
picaresque novel, and more often so-called. The novel of century 
chivalry, descendant of Amadis de Gaula, was by far the most noveL 
popular in the sixteenth century, having almost a monopoly 
of the field. Like the reprehensible "dime novel" of recent 
American life its popularity became almost a disease, result 
ing occasionally in a derangement of the mental faculties 
of some of its more assiduous readers. The extravagant 
achievements of the wandering knights ended by proving 
a bore to Spanish taste, and the chivalric novel was already 
dead when Cervantes attacked it in Don Quixote. Meanwhile, 
the amatory novel had been affected by the introduction 
from Italy of a pastoral basis for the story, which first ap 
peared in the middle of the sixteenth century and endured 
for about a hundred years. This novel was based on an 
impossible situation, that of country shepherds and shep 
herdesses who talked like people of education and refine 
ment. Only the high qualities of the writers were able to 
give it life, which was achieved by the excellence of the de 
scriptions, the lyrical quality of the verse, and the beauty 



of the prose style. The true Spanish novel was to develop 
out of the picaresque type, which looked back to the popular 
La Celestina of 1499. About the middle of the sixteenth 
century and again just at its close there appeared two other 
works, frankly picaresque, for they dealt with the life of 
rogues (picaros) and vagabonds. The name "picaresque" 
was henceforth employed for works which did not come within 
the exact field of these earlier volumes, except that they were 
realistic portrayals of contemporary life. Such was the 
state of affairs when Cervantes appeared. 

Cervantes Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra (1547-1616) had a long 
and Don and varied career before his publication of the book which 
Quixote. was to pj ace hj m at a bound in the front rank of the literary 
men of all time. He was a pupil of the Humanist Hoyos 
in 1568; a chamberlain of Cardinal Acquaviva at Rome in 
1569 ; a soldier from 1570 to 1575, taking part in the battle 
of Lepanto ; and a captive in Algiers from 1575 to 1580. A 
devotee of belles lettres from youth, he produced many works 
between 1583 and 1602 in poetry, the drama, and the pastoral 
novel, in none of which did he attain to real eminence, though 
a writer of note. In 1603 he wrote the first part of the 
Quixote, and published it in 1605. The book leaped into 
immediate favor, ran through a number of editions, and was 
almost at once translated, at least in part, into all the lan 
guages of western Europe. It is easy to point out the re 
lationship of Don Quixote to the many types of literature 
which had preceded it. There was the influence of Lucian 
in its audacious criticism, piquancy, and jovial and inde 
pendent humor, in its satire, in fine ; of Rojas La Celestina 
or of Rueda in dialogue ; of Boccaccio in style, variety, free 
dom, and artistic devices ; of the Italian story-writers and 
poets of the era; even of Homer s Odyssey; and especially 
of the novels of chivalry. Nevertheless, Cervantes took all 
this and moulded it in his own way into something new. The 
case of the novel of chivalry may be taken for purposes of 
illustration. While pretending to annihilate that type of 
work, which was already dead, Cervantes in fact caught the 
epic spirit of idealism which the novelists had wished to rep 
resent but had drowned in a flood of extravagances and im- 


possible happenings, raising it in the Quixote to a point of 
sublimity which revealed the eternal significance in human 
psychology of the knightly ideal, and all in the genial 
reflection of chimerical undertakings amid the real problems 
of life. On this account some have said that the Quixote 
was the last and the best, the perfected novel of chivalry. 
Withal, it was set forth in prose of inexpressible beauty, 
superior to any of its models in its depth and spontaneity, 
its rich abundance, its irresistibly comic force, and its han 
dling of conversation. The surprise occasioned by this totally 
unlooked for kind of book can in part be understood when 
one recalls that in the domain of the real and human, the 
public had had only the three picaresque novels already 
alluded to, before the appearance of Don Quixote. In his 
few remaining years of life Cervantes added yet other works 
in hig inimitable style, of which the two most notable were 
the second part of the Quixote (1615), said by many to be 
superior to the first, and the Novela* exemplareSj or Model The 
tales (1612-1613), a series of short stories bearing a close 
relationship to the picaresque novels in their dealings with 
the lives of rogues, vagabonds, and profligates, but as demon- 
strably different from them as the Quixote was from the 
novels of chivalry, especially in that Cervantes was not 
satirizing, or idealizing, or even drawing a moral concerning 
the life he depicted, but merely telling his tale, as an artist 
and a poet. Well might he say that he was the first to write 
novels in Castilian. There were many writers of fiction 
after him in the era, but since the novel had reached its cul 
minating point in its first issue, it is natural that the art did 
not progress, for it could not! 

While the Spanish theatre and the Spanish novel were of Lyric and 
world-wide significance, furnishing models which affected 
the literature of other peoples, Spanish lyric poetry had only 
a national importance, but it has a special interest at this 
time in that it was the most noteworthy representative of 
the vices which were to contribute to destroy Spain s literary 
preeminence. In the first place, lyric poetry was an im 
portation, for the Italian lyrics overwhelmed the native 
product and even imposed their form in Castilian verse. 



ments in 


Much excellent work was done, however, notably by Gar- 
cilaso de la Vega (1503-1536). Eminent on another account 
was Luis de Argote y Gongora (1561-1627), commonly re 
ferred to by the name of his mother, Gongora. Gongora 
affected to despise popularity, declaring that he wished to 
write only for the cultivated classes. To attain this end he 
adopted the method of complicating the expression of his 
ideas, making violent departures from the usual order of 
employing words (hyperbaton), and indulging in artificial 
symbolism. This practice, called euphuism in English, for 
it was not peculiar to Spain but became general in Europe, 
won undying fame of a doubtfully desirable character for 
Gongora, in that it has ever since been termed gongorisTno 
in Spanish, although the word culieranismo has also been 
applied. Similar to it was conceptism, which aimed to in 
troduce subtleties, symbols, and obscurities into the ideas 
themselves. It is natural that the lyric poetry of the later 
seventeenth century should have reached a state of utter 
decline. Epic poetry did not prosper in this era ; its function 
was supplied by romance. 

In addition to the various forms of prose writing already 
discussed, there were many others, and great distinction was 
achieved in them by the Spaniards of the siglo de oro. Among 
the many who might be mentioned was Francisco de Quevedo, 
especially famous as a satirist and humorist. One interest 
ing type of literature was that of the panegyrics of Spain in 
answer to the Hispanophobe works of foreigners, who based 
their characterizations of Spaniards in no small degree, 
though not wholly, on the exaggerated condemnation of 
Spam s dealings with the American Indians by Bartolome 
de Las Casas, himself a Spanish Dominican. The Politico, 
Indiana of Solorzano belongs in this class of literature, as a 
refutation, though a reasoned one, of the indictment of Las 
Casas and others. In addition to the already-mentioned 
"relations of events," forerunner of the modern newspaper, 
it is to be noted that the Gaceta (Gazette), the official peri 
odical, began to be published in the seventeenth century. 
With regard to the non-Castilian parts of Spain it need only 
be said that Castilian triumphed as the literary language, 



although works in the vernacular continued to be published 
in Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca. 

In dealing with the various phases of the siglo de oro much 
has already been said about the diffusion of Spanish thought 
in Europe and its influence in foreign countries. Two fac 
tors tended to bring Spanish intellectual achievements to 
the notice of the world. In the first place, Spanish profes 
sors were to be found in many foreign universities, while 
Jesuit teaching, very largely Spanish, profoundly affected 
Catholic Europe. In the second place, Spanish works were 
widely read and translated, although not equally at all times 
or equally in all places. In general, Italy was the centre 
for the dissemination of Spanish thought in the sixteenth 
century, though often by a double translation, from Spanish 
to Italian and from Italian to a third tongue, and France was 
the distributing point in the seventeenth century. In addi 
tion there were the works in Latin, which were equally avail 
able to all. Spanish philosophical writings were compar 
atively little read, abroad, but those concerning theology 
and religion were seized upon by friend and foe, while the 
offerings of the Spanish mystics were also widely translated. 
An even greater diffusion fell to the lot of the works on juris 
prudence, politics, and international law, and the essential 
importance of Spanish writings in geography, cosmography, 
natural science, and kindred subjects has already been pointed 
out. The works of the historians crossed the frontiers, 
though more particularly those dealing with the Americas, 
together with the narratives of American travel. The power 
of Spanish arms was sufficient to induce wide reading of 
military writings emanating from the peninsula. Naturally, 
the greatest number of translations was in the field of polite 
literature. Every type of the Spanish novel found its way 
to other countries, and the novel of chivalry was almost 
more admired, abroad, and certainly longer-lived, than in 
Spain. Cervantes became a veritable cult in Germany antf 
England, and in this special case England became the centre 
for the diffusion of Spanish genius. In like manner the great 
dramatists were famous in all of Europe. While the mere 
knowledge by Europeans of Spanish works would not be a 

of Spanish 




Causes of 
the decline 
in Spanish, 
tual pro 

sufficient basis to predicate a vital Spanish influence beyond 
the peninsula, such information was a condition precedent 
to its effectuation, and important modifications of western 
European thought did in fact follow. It would be possible 
to trace this in every branch of literature and study which 
has been discussed, but a number of indications have been 
given already, and the task is one which does not fall within 
the field of this volume. To those who actually produced 
an effect should be added the names of those who deserved 
to do so, but who were prevented by fortuitous circumstances 
from so doing ; the achievements of many of these men are 
only now being brought to light by investigations in Spanish 
archives, and in some cases, for example, in that of the 
anthropological group of writers about the Americas, 
their works still represent contributions to universal knowl 
edge. Toward the close of the seventeenth century Spain s 
hegemony in the world of letters began to be supplanted 
by the rising power of France. 

All peoples who have had their period of intellectual great 
ness have sooner or later fallen from their high estate, and 
it was inevitable that this should occur in the case of Spain. 
The decline in the peninsula was so excessive in degree, how 
ever, that historians have enquired whether there were not 
certain special causes to induce it. The baleful effect of the 
Inquisition, exercising a kind of religious censorship on all 
works, has usually been regarded as of the first importance 
in this respect. Yet the Inquisition existed during the 
period of greatness as well as in that of decadence, and to 
assert that the prohibitions placed upon the expression of 
even such important ideas as those having a religious bearing 
could dry up the native independence and freedom of Spanish 
thought is to confess a lack of knowledge of Spanish character. 
The Inquisition was one of a great many factors having some 
influence to check production, but it was not responsible to 
the degree that has been charged. The same thing is true 
of the government censorship independent of the Inquisition. 
Another factor of some importance was that the manifesta 
tions of the siglo de oro had no solid foundation in the educa 
tion of the masses, who remained as ignorant as in preceding 



centuries. If any set of causes can be singled out from the 
rest, it is probable that those having to do with the political 
and economic decline of the country as a whole affected, also, 
the intellectual output of the country. A natural aptitude 
in the Spanish people, together with the national expansion 
in resources and power, had enabled them in the sixteenth 
century to develop an all-round intellectual productivity, 
more especially of a scientific order, and when this phase of 
the Golden Age was already dead, private wealth, refinement, 
and tradition remained to encourage expression in the realm 
of polite literature. Even this prop was removed by the end 
of the seventeenth century, and the final decline became in 

The general conditions affecting the history of art were 
the same as those already pointed out in dealing with liter 
ature. Spain produced painters whose works were to serve 
as among the greatest models of all time, and her attainments 
in other phases of art, if less inspiring, were of a distinguished 
order. Spanish architecture, though rarely approved by 
modern critics, was to become a force in the world through 
its transmission to the Americas. The so-called " Mission 
style" of California is nothing more than a reminiscence of 
the art forms of Spain in this period and the next. 

A continuation of the evolution begun in the preceding 
era, from Gothic to Renaissance architecture, resulted in 
the banishment of the former. The Renaissance edifices 
were in three principal styles, which did not succeed one 
another rigorously in turn, but which were mixed together, 
or passed almost imperceptibly from one to another, although 
roughly representing a certain chronological order. The first 
of these was characterized by the predominance of Renais 
sance factors over those which were more properly plater- 
esque. The facades of San Marcos of Leon and of the ayun- 
tamiento (city hall) of Seville are good examples. By far the 
most noteworthy style was that of the second of this period, 
called variously "Greco-Roman," "second Renaissance," 
and "Herreran" (after Juan de Herrera, its principal ex 
ponent), and employed most largely in the second half of the 

Great era 
of the 
fine arts. 








ment of 
and the 
lesser arts. 

sixteenth and the first part of the seventeenth century. The 
edifices of this group were noteworthy for the attempt made 
in them to imitate the Roman architecture of the later empire 
through the suppression of adornment and the multiplica 
tion of flat surfaces and straight lines, achieving expression 
through great size and massiveness of structure, together 
with the use of rich materials. In the matter of embellish 
ment the classical orders were superimposed, Doric being 
used in the lower story, Ionic hi the next, and finally Corin 
thian. The pyramid capped with a ball was the favorite 
style of finial, while gigantic statues were also placed in 
niches high up in the facade. The whole effect was sombrely 
religious, often depressingly so. The greatest example of 
this type of art is the Escorial, the famous palace of Philip 
II, built by Juan de Herrera, possibly the most noteworthy 
single edifice of Christian Spanish architecture in existence, 
and certainly the most widely known. In the reign of Philip 
IV there was a pronounced reaction against the sobriety of 
the Herreran style, and the pendulum swung to the other 
extreme. Adornment and movement of line returned, but 
were expressed in a most extravagant way, as exemplified 
by the excessive employment of foliage effects and by the 
use of broken or twisted lines which were not structurally 
necessary and were not in harmony with the rest of the edi 
fice. Variety and richness of materials were also a leading 
characteristic. This style, usually called "baroque," also 
"churrigueresque" (from Churriguera, its leading architect), 
has numerous examples, of which the facade of the palace 
of San Telmo in Seville may be taken as a type. 

Sculpture developed into a vigorous art, though still em 
ployed mainly as auxiliary to architecture or in religious 
statuary. Gothic sculpture hi both the pure and the plat- 
eresque form struggled against Italian influences until the 
middle of the sixteenth century, when the latter triumphed. 
Berniguete, Montanes, and Alonso Cano, the first-named 
largely responsible for the just-mentioned Italian victory 
and the two latter flourishing in the time of Philip IV, were 
the leading names of the era. A peculiarity of the Spanish 
sculptors was that they worked in wood, being especially 


noteworthy for the images (many crucifixions among them) 
which they made. The realism of the image-makers saved 
Spanish sculpture from the contamination of baroque art, 
which took root in other countries. The decline came, 
however, with the introduction later in the seventeenth 
century of the practice of dressing the images, so that only 
the head, hands, and feet were in fact sculptured. From 
this the sculptors went on to attach false hair and other 
false features, going even to the extreme of affixing human 
skin and finger nails. Other factors combined with this 
lack of taste to bring on the decay of the art. The excel 
lent work in this period of the artesonados, or ceilings of 
carved woodwork, should not pass unnoticed. Meanwhile, 
work in gold, silver, iron, and bronze was cultivated as 
siduously, of which the principal manifestations of a national 
character were the shrines and gratings. In general, the 
Renaissance influences triumphed in these arts, as also in 
the various allied arts, such as the making of tapestry. The 
gold workers enjoyed an expansion of output springing 
naturally from the surplus wealth in secular hands, and a 
similar lot fell to the workers in silks and embroideries ; both 
industries produced materials of a high artistic quality. 
In ceramic art Arabic tradition had one noteworthy sur 
vival in the azulejos, or varnished bricks painted by hand 
in blue and white and used as tiles. Renaissance factors 
at length appeared to change the geometric designs, remi 
niscent of the Moslem past, to the more prevalent classic 
forms. Aside from azulejos proper other tiles of many 
colors, often gilded, were employed. 

In the early years of this period the Italian influence on Appear- 
Spanish painting held full sway. The leading factors were ?nce of an 
the Florentine school, headed by Raphael, and the Vene- ^^ 
tian school, of which Titian was the most prominent rep- g pail i s h 
resentative. The latter, notable for its brilliant coloring school ia 
and effects of light, was by all odds the more important of painting, 
the two. Spaniards went to Italy to study, and not a few 
Italian painters came to Spain, while many works of the 
Italian masters, especially those of Titian, were procured 
by Charles I and Philip II. Nevertheless, the signs of a 



El Greco, 
first of the 
masters in 


truly Spanish school began to appear about the middle of 
the sixteenth century, and before the close of Philip IFs 
reign the era of Spanish independence in painting and the 
day of the great masters were at hand, to endure for over 
i century. \Yith characteristic individuality, Spaniards 
did not separate into well-defined local schools, but dis 
played a great variety, even within the same group. Still, 
in a general way the Andalusians may be said to have 
accentuated the use of light and a warm ambient, while 
the Castilians followed a more severe style, employing 
darker tones. All devoted themselves to the depiction of 
religious subject-matter, but "with no attempt at idealism ; 
rather, the mundane sphere of realism, though in a religious 
cloak, preoccupied them, with attention, too, to expression 
and coloring more than to drawing and purity of form. 

The era of splendor began with Domenico Theotocopuli 
(1545 ?-1625), better known as "El Greco." As indicated 
by his name this artist was not Spanish in origin, but Greek. 
The character of his works, however, was so original and 
its influences were so powerful in the formation of the Spanish 
school that he may truly be claimed for Spain, where he 
lived and worked. He established himself at Toledo in 
1577, which city is still the best repository of his paintings. 
His early style was marked by a strong Venetian manner, 
with warm tones, great richness, firm drawing, and an in 
tense sentiment of life. Toward 1581 he began to change 
to a use of cold, gray, shadowy tones, and the employment 
of a kind of caricature in his drawing, with long and narrow 
heads and bodies. By this method, however, he was able 
to attain wonderful results in portraiture. Aside from his 
own merits no painter so profoundly influenced the greatest 
of the masters, Velazquez. Chronologically next of the 
great painters was Ribera (1588-1656), called "Espagno- 
letto" in Italy, where he did most of his work in the Spanish 
kingdom of Naples. Naturalism, perfect technique, and 
the remarkable bodily energy of the figures he depicted were 
the leading qualities of his work. The diffusion of his paint 
ings in Spain tended to make him influential in the Spanish 
school, to which his individuality, as well as his birth, 


entitled him to belong. Zurbaran (1598-1663) was the most Zurbaran 
rigorous of the realists, including all the accessories in his 
paintings, even to the minute details of a person s dress. 
Less vigorous than Ribera he was best in his portrayal of 
monks, in which subject-matter his sombrely passive, 
exceedingly religious atmosphere found a suitable vehicle. 
He was nevertheless a brilliant colorist. Next in point of Vel&zquez, 
time came Diego Velazquez de Silva (1599-1660), greatest greatest 
of Spanish masters and possibly the greatest of all painters. t ~ 
Velazquez had various periods and various styles, in all of 
which he produced admirable works. Unlike his prede 
cessors and those who succeeded him as well, he was as diverse 
in subject-matter as it was possible to be, within the law, 
and was far less notable for his religious works than for his 
many others. He depicted for all time the court life of Philip 
III and Philip IV, including the portraits of those kings and 
the other leading figures of the court. Some of his greatest 
work appeared in these portraits, which he knew how to 
fit into a setting of landscape, making the central figure 
stand out in a way that no other painter has surpassed or 
perhaps equalled. He also painted common people (as in 
his Los borrachos, or Intoxicated men) and queer people (as 
in his paintings of dwarfs), and drew upon mythology (as 
in his composition entitled "the forge of Vulcan") and upon 
contemporary wars (as witness the famous "surrender of 
Breda"). Once only, during a lapse of the prohibitory law, 
did he paint a nude, the celebrated Venus of the mirror, 
now in London, one of the greatest works of its kind. In 
many of his paintings he revealed himself as a wonderful 
landscape painter. His landscapes were characterized by 
the use of a pale, yet rich, pervading blue, and by effects 
of distance and atmosphere. No painter is more inade 
quately set forth by photography. To know Velazquez, 
one must see his works. 1 After Velazquez came Murillo Murillo. 
(1618-1682), an Andalusian, who well represented the 
traits of southern Spain. His leading characteristics were 
a precise, energetic drawing, fresh, harmonious coloring, 

1 The best place to see them is in the Velazquez room of the 
Prado at Madrid. 







of Spanish 

and a religious sentiment which iras a remarkable com 
bination of imaginative idealism, or even supernatnralism, 
of conception with realism of figures and scenes. His biblical 
characters were represented by the common people of the 
streets of Seville. Few painters have more indelibly stamped 
their works with their own individuality. Last of the 
masters was Coello (1623 ?-1694), who maintained the 
traditions of the Spanish school, though under strong Vene 
tian influence, amidst a flood of baroque paintings which 
had already begun to corrupt public taste. Other names 
might well be included in the list of great Spanish painters 
in this era, such as Pacheco, Roelas, Herrera, and especially 
Valdes Leal and Alonso Cano. Indeed, it would be diffi 
cult to overestimate the importance of the Spanish school. 
It is not unthinkable that a list of the ten greatest painters 
in the history of the world would include the names of 
Velazquez, El Greco, and Murillo, with a place reserved 
for Goya (of the eighteenth century), and with the claims 
of Ribera deserving consideration. 

Spanish music, though not so important in the history 
of the world as that of Italy or Germany, had a notable 
development in this period, and displayed an individuality 
which distinguished it from that of other lands. For the 
first time it came into a place of its own, apart from recita 
tion or the merely technical presentation of medieval 
church ceremonial, and was characterized by a certain ex 
pressiveness, approaching sentimentality and having a 
flavor which has led many to assert that its roots were to be 
found in the song and dance of Spanish Moslems. To be 
sure, the influence of Italy was greatest at this time. The 
siglo de oro in Spanish music was the sixteenth century, in 
the time of the four great composers of the era, Morales, 
Guerrero, Cabezon, and Victoria. The greatest works 
were in the field of religious music, in which various parts 
were sung to the accompaniment of the organ. Music of 
the court occupied a half-way post between church and 
popular music, displaying a combination of both elements, 
with song to the accompaniment of the viola, which filled 
the role of the modern piano. At the close of the sixteenth 


century the viola was replaced by the guitar, which became 
the national instrument of Spain. Popular music found 
its fullest expression in the theatre. It got to be the fashion 
ior the entire company to sing as a preliminary to the play, 
to the music of the viola, the harp, or the violin. This 
song had no necessary connection with the play, but song 
in dialogue soon began to be employed as an integral part 
of one-act pieces of what might be termed a vaudeville 
type. In the seventeenth century, song invaded the legiti 
mate stage, and some operas were sung in which the dialogue 
was entirely in music or else alternated with recitation. The 
last-named type, the zarzuela, became particularly popular. 
Unfortunately, none of the examples of this music which 
would have been most interesting, such as that employed 
in the zarzuelas of Lope de Vega and the other masters, 
has survived. Its true character therefore remains un 
known, although its use in theatrical representation is an 
important fact in the history of the art. 


Basis and 
quences of 
reforms of 
the eigh 


THE eighteenth century in Spain was of intense import 
as affecting the ultimate interests of the Americas. It was 
an era of regeneration, of a somewhat remarkable recovery 
from the decadent state which Spain had reached by the time 
of the reign of the last Hapsburg monarch. It was accom 
panied, however, by Spain s engaging in a series of wars, 
due in some cases to unwise ambitions of an imperialistic 
character in European affairs and in others to unavoidable 
necessity as a result of the aggressions of foreign powers. 
It was a period when international morality with its attendant 
diplomatic intrigue and unprovoked attacks was in a low 
state, and Spain was often a sufferer thereby ; indeed, many 
interesting parallels might be drawn between European 
diplomatic practices in the eighteenth century and those of 
William II of Germany in the twentieth. England, Austria, 
and France were at various times the opponents of Spain, 
but the^first-named gradually emerged as the most persistent, 
aggressive, and dangerous of her enemies. If the prospects 
of wars were the principal motive force which induced the 
life-giving reforms, so that Spain might acquire wealth 
and efficiency which could be converted into military strength, 
the wars themselves tended to increase the needs of the 
state. Thus in the case of the Americas the very improve 
ments which were introduced were to contribute to bring 
about the eventual separation of Spain from her colonies, 
in the first place because they occasioned a development 
in resources and capacity which gave prospects of success 
when the revolts should come, and in the second because 


THE EARLY BOURBONS, 1700-1759 3G9 

Spain drew too heavily upon the colonies in promoting 
European objects without giving an adequate return, 
wherefore discontent was fostered. Nevertheless, her efforts 
were at least to have the merit of saving those colonies to 
themselves, thus conserving the influence of Spanish-speak 
ing peoples in the world, with indirect effects on the history 
of the United States. 

With the exception of Austria, whose candidate for the Causes of 
Spanish throne, the Archduke Charles, was unwilling to the War of 
recognize the validity of the document which had chosen 
the grandson of Louis XIV, the European nations were 
disposed to view the accession of Philip V (1700-1746) with 
favor, especially since the French monarch consented to the 
conditions imposed in the will of Charles II that the crowns 
of France and Spain should be independent and never be 
united in a single person. This seemed to insure a main 
tenance of the equilibrium in Europe almost more certainly 
than the crowning of the Archduke Charles would have done, 
wherefore most of the powers recognized Philip V. It was 
at this time that the autocratic Louis XIV, whose many 
victorious wars had given him an undue confidence, made 
one of the serious mistakes of his life. In certain formal let 
ters he recognized in Philip V such rights of succession to 
the French throne as he would ordinarily have had but for 
the terms of his acquisition of Spain, and caused these docu 
ments to be recorded before the Parlement of Paris. Other 
events also tended to show that Louis XIV meant to dispose 
of Spain as if that country belonged to him. When he 
presented the Spanish ambassador at Versailles to Philip V 
the Castilian envoy exclaimed: "God be praised! The 
Pyrenees have disappeared! Now we are all one!" This 
remark was indicative of the opinions which by that time 
had become current. This new element in the situation, 
together with certain other impolitic acts of the French 
king against the interests of England and the Protestant 
Netherlands, caused the countries just named to join with 
Austria and the Holy Roman Empire in 1701 in an alliance 
for a war against Louis XIV and Philip V. Austria wished 
to acquire the crown of Spain for the archduke, while the 



The war in 

of the 
duke s 

English and the Dutch were primarily desirous of avoiding 
a Franco-Spanish union, wherefore they insisted on the 
dethronement of Philip V, accepting the pretensions of 
Charles. England was particularly inspired by a fear that 
her commerce and expansion in the new world would be 
prejudiced, or even crushed, by the joint power of France 
and Spain. Furthermore, the profits of contraband trade 
with the Spanish colonies were likely to be cut off under the 
energetic rule of the king of France, then the most powerful 
monarch in Europe, and direct indications to that effect 
occurred in 1701, when the asiento (contract), or right to 
introduce negro slaves into America, was granted to a French 
company and several South American ports were occupied 
by French ships. 

The War of the Spanish Succession, as the great conflict 
beginning actively in 1702 has been called, had Spain as one 
of its principal battle-grounds, since both Philip V and the 
archduke were there. The struggle was one of great vicissi 
tudes, as evidenced by the number of times Madrid itself 
changed hands. Most of the people in the peninsula favored 
Philip V, but the Catalans early displayed a tendency 
toward the other side. Then* resentment over the injuries 
received at the hands of their French allies in the revolt of 
1640 had not yet cooled, and they especially objected to 
being governed by a king who represented the absolutist 
ideals of the French Bourbons, for it was logical to expect 
that it might mean a danger to their much cherished fueros, 
or charters. Certain conflicts with royal officials seemed 
to indicate that the government of Philip V intended to 
insist on the omnipotence of its authority, thus increasing 
the discontent, to which was added the encouragement to 
revolt arising from the greatness of the forces aligned 
against the Bourbons, for in addition to the powers already 
mentioned Savoy and Portugal had cast hi their lot in 1703 
and 1704. An allied attempt of 1704 to land in Catalonia 
having proved a failure the Bourbon officers employed rigo 
rous measures to punish those Catalans who had aided in 
the movement. The principal effect was to rouse indigna 
tion to such a point that in 1705 a determined outbreak took 



place. Henceforth, Catalonia could be counted on the side 
of the allies. In the same year an alliance was contracted 
with the English, who made promises to the Catalans which 
they were going to be far from fulfilling. Meanwhile, the 
allied failure to get a foothold in Catalonia in 1704 had been 
compensated by an incident of that campaign which was to 
be one of the most important events of the war. On its 
way south from Catalonia in that year the English squadron, 
under the command of Admiral Rooke, seized Gibraltar, 
which happened to be poorly defended at the time. Nu 
merous attempts were made to recover it, but neither then 
nor since were the Spaniards able to wrest this guardian of 
the strait from English hands. In 1708 the island of Minorca 
was captured, to remain in the possession of England for 
nearly a century. In 1711 the Holy Roman Emperor died, 
as a result of which the archduke ascended the imperial 
throne as the Emperor Charles VI. This event proved to 
be decisive as affecting the war, for it made the candidacy 
of Charles for the Spanish crown almost as unwelcome as 
had been the earlier prospect of a Franco-Spanish union. 
Other factors contributed to make the former archduke s 
allies desirous of peace, chief of which was that Louis XIV 
had been so thoroughly beaten that there was no longer any 
danger of his insisting on the rights of Philip V to the crown 
of France. 

England (in which country a new government representing 
the mercantile classes and the party of peace had just come 
into power) took the lead among the allies in peace negotia 
tions, and was soon followed by all the parties engaged, 
except Charles VI and a few of the German princes. Be 
tween 1711 and 1714 a series of treaties was arranged, of 
which the principal one was that of Utrecht in 1713. As 
concerned Spain the most noteworthy provisions were: 
Philip V s renunciation for himself and his heirs of any claim 
to the French throne ; the cession of Gibraltar and Minorca 
to England ; the grant of the negro slave-trade asiento in the 
Americas to the English, together with accompanying rights 
which made this phase of the treaties a veritable entering 
wedge for English commerce in the Spanish colonies; and 

The cap 
ture of 
by the 

to peace. 




ment of 
the Cata 
lans by 
the allies. 

the surrender of the Catholic Netherlands, Milan, Naples, 
and Sardinia to Austria, and of Sicily to Savoy. In 1720 
Austria and Savoy exchanged the two islands which had 
fallen to their lot, and the latter took on the official title of 
the kingdom of Sardinia. On the above-named conditions 
Philip V was allowed to retain the Spanish dominions of the 
peninsula and of the Americas. If Spain could have but 
known it, the treaties were altogether favorable to her, but 
ambition was to undo their beneficial effects. One trouble 
some point in the various peace conferences was the so-called 
case of the Catalans. It had been generally believed that 
England in accordance with her earlier treaty with the Cata 
lans would insist on the preservation of the much mooted 
fueros and that Philip V would make the concession, as had 
Philip IV before him. Philip V showed himself to be ob 
stinate on this point, for, not once, but several times, he 
positively refused to yield. Furthermore, the English 
government, desirous of peace, the prospective advantages 
of which for England were already clear, repeatedly charged 
its ambassadors not to hold out for the Catalan fueros. 
Some attempts to secure them were made, but when they 
failed to overcome the persistent objections of Philip V 
provision was made for a general amnesty to the Catalans, 
who were to enjoy the same rights as the inhabitants of 
Castile. The rights of Castilians, however, together with 
the duties which were implied, were precisely what the 
Catalans did not want. The conduct of Charles VI was 
equally unmoral. He did, indeed, make repeated attempts 
to save the fueros, and declared that he would never abandon 
the Catalans. Yet he signed a convention withdrawing 
his troops from Catalonia, and left the people of that land 
to their fate. The latter were not disposed to yield without 
a struggle, and sustained a war against Philip V for more 
than a year. The fall of Barcelona in 1714 put an end to 
the unequal conflict. 

One of the interesting factors of the era of the war was 
that of the French influence in Spain, which was to have a 
pronounced effect on the internal development of the coun 
try, and, by extension, on that of the colonies. Philip V 



was seventeen years of age when he ascended the throne, 
but, though he many times proved his valor in battle, he 
was in other respects a weak and irresolute character, with 
out striking virtues or defects, fond of hunting, and ex 
ceedingly devout, in fine, of a type such that he was 
inevitably bound to be led by others. These traits fitted 
in with the policies of Louis XIV, who fully intended to 
direct the affairs of Spain in his own interest. He charged 
Philip V never to forget that he was a Frenchman, and, 
indeed, with the exceptions presently to be noted, Philip 
was quite ready to submit to the will of his grandfather. 
From the first, Louis XIV surrounded the Spanish king 
with French councillors, some of whom occupied honorary 
positions only, while others filled important posts in the 
government of Spain, and still others, notably the French 
ambassadors and French generals, exercised actual authority 
without having any official connection with the country. 
One of the most important of all was Madame des Ursins, 
maid of honor to the queen, sent to Spain by Louis XIV 
because as the widow of the Duke of Braciano, a Spanish 
grandee, she was familiar with the customs of the country. 
This lady won the complete confidence of the queen, who in 
turn was able to dominate her husband. It may be said 
for Madame des Ursins that she w r as faithful to the interests 
of the Spanish monarehs, though promoting the entry of 
French influences, at that time much to be desired in Spain. 
Indeed, she not infrequently sided with Philip V against 
the wishes of Louis XIV, which on one occasion led to her 
recall by the French monarch. Finding, however, that he 
could not control Spanish affairs without her aid, Louis 
allowed her to return to Spain. Despite the enormous 
pressure exercised against him in favor of France, Philip V 
occasionally rebelled. One instance of his obstinacy has 
already been cited respecting the case of the Catalan fueros. 
A more important issue arose out of the presumptions of 
Louis XIV to dispose of Philip s crown, as an avenue of 
escape for himself. In every year from 1706 to 1712 
Louis XIV endeavored to sacrifice the interests of Spain or 
of Philip V in order to propitiate the allies into a grant of 

in Spain 
during 1 the 
War of the 





of re 
sistance by 
Philip V 
to domina 
tion by 










of Savoy. 

peace. In particular he was desirous of procuring the resig 
nation of Philip from the throne of Spain in favor of the 
House of Austria, saving to Philip the Spanish dominions 
in Italy. Philip was obdurate when suggestions were made 
of his abandoning Spain, and more than once, even when 
the situation looked hopeless, declared his intention of dying 
at the head of his troops, rather than abdicate the throne 
to which he felt divinely entitled. Louis XIV was even 
disposed to compel him by force of arms to acquiesce, and 
several times withdrew his military support, but the Spanish 
king would not yield. Fortunately for Philip the allies 
played into his hands by demanding too much, with the 
result that Louis XIV on such occasions would renew his 
support of Philip. Nevertheless, it was the urgings of 
Louis XIV which prevailed upon Philip to surrender the 
Spanish dominions in Italy and the Low Countries as well 
as to renounce his claim to the throne of France. In all of 
these tribulations of the Spanish king credit should be given 
to Maria Luisa of Savoy, the spirited young queen of Spain. 
Not yet fourteen at the time of her marriage, in 1701, she 
at all times displayed a courage and ability which endeared 
her to the Spanish people. Though her father, the Duke 
of Savoy, joined the allies against France and Spain, she 
did not waver in her attachment to the land of her adoption. 
Inspired by her the Spanish people (except the Catalans) 
displayed an ardent spirit of nationalism for the first time 
in history, and were loyally devoted to the king and queen. 
Nevertheless, despite Spanish patriotism and Philip s ob 
durate resistance to Louis XIV s plans concerning the 
peninsula, there was the underlying truth of a profound 
French influence over Spain. This was best represented 
by men who, like Orry and Amelot, were responsible for 
far-reaching reforms, the effects of which will be discussed 
in the chapters on institutions. 

Unfortunately for Philip and for Spain the queen died, early 
in the year 1714. A young Italian abbot named Alberoni 
happened to be at court in that year and he suggested to 
Madame des Ursins that a certain Isabel Farnesio (Elizabeth 
Farnese) of Parma would make a suitable wife for Philip V. 

THE EARLY BOURBONS, 1700-1759 375 

According to him the sweet gentleness of her character would Isabel 
enable Madame des Ursins to maintain her powe 7 * at the Farnesio 
Spanish court. In December of the same year the wedding a 
took place. Thus did the lady who has received the so- tionofa 
briquet, the "Termagant of Spain/ 5 become the wife of policy of 
Philip V. On her first meeting with Madame des Ursins imperial- 
she dismissed her, and proceeded to become herself the domi- *. smiri 
nant influence near the crown. Isabel Farnesio was in fact y " 
a woman of extraordinary energy and force of character, 
besides being so attractive as to be irresistible to the weak 
king, who was so violently and capriciously attached to her 
that he even chastised her with blows, at times, in a kind 
of jealous fury. Nevertheless, she submitted to anything, 
provided she could retain a hold on her husband, for she was 
ambitious for her children and for Italy, and meant to utilize 
Spanish power in furtherance of her aims. Early in 1715 
she procured the elevation of Alberoni (soon to become a 
cardinal) to the direction of affairs in the Spanish state, as 
the instrument to procure her objects. The chief tenets in 
her policy were the breaking of the intimate relation with 
France and the recovery of the Italian possessions, based 
on the twofold desire of throwing the Austrians out of Italy 
(a patriotic Italian wish, possibly more attributable to Al 
beroni than to the queen) and of creating principalities for 
the children of her own marriage with Philip. These aims 
were furthered by playing upon the wishes of Philip to re 
cover his rights to the French throne- Philip V had not 
willingly renounced his. claim at the time Louis XIV had 
persuaded him to do so r and many of the events for the next 
few years are explained by his aspirations to obtain that 
crown for himself or for one of his sons. The Italian am 
bitions of Isabel Farnesio, however, were the enduring 
keynote of Spanish policy for some thirty years. 

The break with France was not long in coming. In 1715 
Louis XIV died, and, contrary to the expectations of Philip, 
not Philip V, but the Duke of Orleans, whom the Spanish 
king regarded as a personal opponent, was named as regent 
for the sickly Louis XV, who was not expected to live very 
long, though in fact he was to reign for fifty-nine years. 



and war 
in the 
first period 
of the 
sions of 

The breach was widened by a series of treaties between Eng 
land, the Protestant Netherlands, and France in the next 
two years with a view to the execution of the treaty of 
Utrecht. To assure the peace of Europe it was necessary 
to procure the adhesion of Philip V and Charles VI, who 
alone of the parties to the War of the Spanish Succession 
had not made peace with each other, although no hostilities 
had taken place for some time. Such a peace did not fit in, 
however, with the plans of Isabel Farnesio, and when the 
emperor furnished a pretext in 1717 for the renewal of 
hostilities a Spanish army was suddenly dispatched to Sar 
dinia which overran that island. England as guarantor of 
the neutrality of Italy protested, and endeavored to effect 
a peace between the two contestants by an offer to Philip 
of Charles renunciation of his claims to the Spanish crown, 
together with a promise of the duchies of Parma and Tuscany 
and a vague suggestion of England s willingness to restore 
Gibraltar and Minorca. The English proposal was rejected, 
and in 1718 an expedition was sent into Sicily (then in the 
possession of Savoy, although the already mentioned ex 
change with Austria had been discussed). The Spaniards 
were received with enthusiasm, and soon had a mastery of 
the island. Meanwhile, Austria entered the triple alliance, 
which thereby became quadruple, on the basis of the em 
peror s offers to renounce his pretensions to the throne 
of Spain and to consent to the succession of Charles, son of 
Isabel Farnesio and Philip V, to the duchies of Parma, 
Plasencia, and Tuscany in exchange for Philip s return of 
Sicily and Sardinia and his renunciation of all dominion in 
Italy and the Low Countries. These terms were offered to 
Philip, who refused them, despite the English ambassador s 
insinuation of his country s willingness to return Gibraltar 
and Minorca if Philip would accept. While the British 
government was thus negotiating for peace through diplo 
matic channels it also took steps in another way to insure 
Spanish acquiescence in the allied proposals. An English 
fleet under Admiral Byng was ordered to attack the Spanish 
fleet without previous announcement of a warlike intent, 
managing the affair, if possible, so as to cast the blame on 



the Spanish commander. Byng found the Spanish fleet in 
Sicilian waters, destroyed it, and landed Austrian troops 
in Sicily. Several months later, in December, 1718, England 
declared war on Spain, which was followed in January, 1719, 
by a declaration of war against Philip V on the part of 
France. Hopelessly outnumbered, Spain nevertheless dis 
played a surprising capacity for resistance. Defeat was in 
evitable, however, and late in 1719 Alberoni, whose extraor 
dinary web of intrigues was deemed responsible for the 
existing situation, was dismissed from power, a condition 
exacted by the allies, and in 1720 peace was made on the 
basis of the earlier proposals of the quadruple alliance. 
Philip was ready to comply with these terms, but the em 
peror was now unwilling to grant what had been required 
of him. The result was a new alliance in 1721 of England, 
France, and Spain, of which the most noteworthy terms 
were England s definite promise to restore Gibraltar to Spain 
and an agreement for a double matrimonial alliance between 
the French and Spanish courts; a Spanish princess aged 
three was betrothed to Louis XV, then eleven years old, 
while a French princess was to marry Philip s eldest son, 
Luis. In addition the rights of Isabel s son Charles to the 
Italian duchies were reaffirmed. The marriage of Luis and 
the French princess was duly celebrated in 1722, and the 
Spanish princess was sent to the French court to be educated. 
For several years Philip had been expressing a desire to 
abdicate. In January, 1724, he carried his previously an 
nounced intention into effect, declaring that he proposed 
to consecrate the remainder of his life to the service of God 
and the important work of maintaining his own health. 
There has been much speculation as to whether these were 
his real designs, all the more so, since the ambitious 
queen at no time protested against this step. Although 
there is no direct evidence to that effect, it is more than 
probable that Philip and Isabel wanted to be ready to take 
advantage of the situation which might arise if Louis XV 
should die, as was expected. At any rate Philip s eldest 
son was proclaimed king, as Luis I, but the reign was of 
brief duration. In the same year 1724 Luis contracted 

tion of 
Philip V 

Brief reign 
of Luis I 

Philip s rt 
of the 



and the 

smallpox and died. As there was a general disinclination 
to the succession of Philip s second son, Ferdinand, then a 
minor, the former king was asked to accept the crown again, 
and despite certain compunctions he felt in the matter he 
at length agreed to do so. 

The second reign of Philip V was dominated as before by 
the Italian ambitions of Isabel Farnesio, with the French 
aspirations of the king remaining a factor. By this time the 
Baron of Ripperda, an adventurer who had previously been 
the Dutch representative at the Spanish court, had become 
the agent through whom Isabel hoped to achieve her ends. 
Few more unconscionable liars and intriguers are recorded 
in history than this audacious courtier, who was able to 
deceive even Isabel Farnesio. It occurred to the queen that 
the vexed question of the Italian duchies might be settled 
through an embassy to Vienna. Accordingly, Ripperdd 
was sent, with the principal object of procuring the betrothal 
of two Austrian archduchesses to Isabel s sons, Charles 
and Philip. Ripperda found Charles VI disinclined to 
consent to the betrothals, but lied both to the emperor and 
to Philip, telling each that the other accepted his petitions. 
His deceptions would certainly have been unmasked, had 
it not been for an unexpected turn in events. In 1725 the 
French regent, fearful lest Louis XV might die without issue, 
sent back the Spanish princess who had been betrothed to 
him, because she was still too young to marry. The natural 
consequence was a rupture between France and Spain, 
facilitating a treaty between Charles VI and Philip V. The 
matter of the marriage was now secondary to the political 
need of support. Charles and Philip agreed to the terms 
proposed to the latter in 1718 by the quadruple alliance. 
In addition Philip guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction, 
whereby the succession of Charles VTs eldest daughter to 
his Austrian estates was to be secured, and gave extensive 
commercial privileges to Austria, particularly to the Ostend 
Company of the Catholic, or Austrian, Netherlands, enabling 
that company to secure trading rights in Spain and the 
Americas. A defensive alliance was arranged, one feature 
of which was the emperor s agreement to use his good offices 

THE EARLY BOUHBONS, 1700-1759 379 

to cause England to fulfil her promised restoration of Gi 
braltar and Minorca to Spain. Finally, Charles VI definitely 
abandoned his oft-repeated demand for the recognition of 
the Catalan fueros. For his triumphs of 1725 Ripperda 
was made a grandee of Spain, owing his promotion, in part 
at least, to his assurance that the marriage alliances were 
practically secure. He became first minister at the Spanish 
court, a post which he asked for, falsely asserting that 
Charles VI desired it. Such a tissue of lies could not be 
sustained indefinitely. His duplicity having been dis 
covered he lost his position in 1726, and was imprisoned 
when he seemed to confess guilt by taking refuge in the 
English embassy. Escaping in 1728 he went to northern 
Africa, where he passed the remaining nine years of his life. 

The Austrian treaties of 1725 were to have important con- The ao 
sequences. England, France, the Protestant Netherlands, quisition 
Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark immediately formed an f 
alliance, and war seemed imminent. Spain desired it, but j 
Austria declined to engage, much to the resentment of the S0 n 
Spanish court. Spain made a fruitless attempt to recapture Charles. 
Gibraltar, however, in 1727, but consented to peace in the 
same year without attaining her ends, although the definitive 
treaty was not signed until 1729. One factor in the agree 
ment was the desire of Isabel Farnesio to avenge herself on 
Charles VI, not only for his failure to join in the recent war, 
but also to requite his refusal to accept the marriage projects 
she had proposed. Even when the emperor consented to 
the attainment in 1731 of Isabel s ambitions for her son 
concerning the three duchies of northern Italy, she did not 
put aside her vengeful plans. Charles of Bourbon in fact 
landed in Italy in that year to take possession of the duchies. 
A fresh step in the plans of Isabel was the treaty of 1733 
with France, often called by analogy with the later treaty 
of 1761-1762 the "first Family Compact." The oppor 
tunity to strike at Austria, which both France and Spain 
desired, was now at hand, for Austria was in the meshes of 
a war over the Polish succession. Spain declared war on 
Austria late in 1733, and in the next year overran Naples 
and Sicily. In 1734, too, Prince Charles was brought from 


his duchies to be crowned king of Naples, or the Two Sicilies. 
Thus had Isabel Farnesio restored the questionably desirable 
Italian inheritance to Spain, but the duchies were lost. 
France was ready to make peace in 1735; so she calmly 
offered Charles VI the three duchies in exchange for a recog 
nition of Spanish Charles as king of the Two Sicilies. Spain 
protested, but could do nothing more than submit. These 
terms were accepted hi 1735, although peace was not signed 
until three years later. It is interesting to note that the 
Catalans had not yet given up hope of their jueros. A body 
of Catalan patriots visited England hi 1736 to ask for the 
fulfilment of the earlier English promise to maintain the 
fueros, but the British government paid no attention to the 

The War War was not long hi making its reappearance on the 
of Jen- Spanish horizon. For a long time there had been various 
Jdns Ear. causes O f dispute with England, the most important of which 
arose out of the English contraband trade in the Spanish 
colonies. The asiento treaty had been used by English mer 
chants as the entering wedge for British commerce, and their 
violations of the law had met with reprisals at times, es 
pecially when English smugglers were caught by the more 
faithful of the Spanish officials in the colonies. One English 
man, named Jenkins, brought home his ear preserved in 
alcohol, claiming that the Spaniards had cut it off. Such 
acts as. this, whether of actual occurrence or not, fitted in 
with English conceptions of Spanish cruelty, and furnished 
a pretext for war to the rising party of British imperialists, 
headed by William Pitt. Indemnities were demanded by 
England and agreed to by Spain, but when the latter put in 
a counter-claim the British government threatened war, 
which was soon declared, late in 1739. This conflict, called 
in English histories the War of Jenkins Ear, demonstrated 
that the internal reforms in Spain had not been without 
effect. The West Indies were the principal field of the 
struggle, but Spain was able to defend herself, as witness 
the successful defence of Cartagena, which Admiral Vernon 
was so sure he was going to capture that he had commemo 
rative medals struck off in advance. In Europe the most 



noteworthy events were the Spanish attempts to capture 
Gibraltar and Port Mahon, Minorca, both of which ended 
in failure. France soon came into the war on Spain s side, 
and the conflict became European when it merged into the 
great War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). 

The various princes of Europe had guaranteed Charles VI s 
Pragmatic Sanction one or more times, but when the emperor 
died, in 1740, each of them proceeded along the line of 
political interest. Urged on by Isabel Farnesio, Philip V 
renewed his pretensions to the duchies in northern Italy and 
to other Italian territories in Austrian hands which had 
formerly belonged to Spain. France, Prussia, and other 
states of lesser importance also made certain claims. Eng 
land s interest lay with the opponent of France and Spain, 
wherefore she joined with Austria. In a military way the 
war was very nearly indecisive, and there was a general 
desire for peace by the year 1746. This attitude received 
a fresh impulse by the accession of Ferdinand VI to the 
Spanish throne in that year, for he was a determined partisan 
of peace. The treaty of 1748 was entirely favorable to 
Isabel Farnesio in that she obtained the duchies of Parma, 
Plasencia, and Guastalla for her son Philip; Tuscany was 
no longer available, having been in other hands since the 
agreement of 1735. The dispute with England was settled 
by a recognition of commercial advantages in favor of that 
country, especially those growing out of the asiento; two 
years later the asiento was annulled in exchange for a heavy 
payment by Spain. Meanwhile, the voyage of Anson 
around the world, 1739-1742, had in fact dealt a blow to 
Spain in America, revealing the Spanish secrets of the Pacific. 
The peace of 1748 marked the culminating point in the 
aspirations of Isabel Farnesio. After more than thirty years 
of effort she had almost completely attained her ends. Spain 
had paid the bills, with little to compensate her except glory 
and at the cost of losses in the colonies, which though not 
translated into cessions of territory were to have ultimate 
effects to the disadvantage of Spain. 

The reign of Ferdinand VI (1746-1759) looms little in 
external narrative, because it was an era of peace, but on 

The War 
of the 
sion and 
the acqui 
sition of 
the North 
for Isa 
bel s son 


Impor- that very account it was important in institutions. The 
tanceof achievements of Charles III were made possible by the 
the peace- policies of economic regeneration which were so strongly to 
Fer^Sid ^ e ^ ore * n ^ re *S n ^ Ferdinand VI. Ferdinand, who may 
VI. have been deficient enough in some respects, who took very 

little part himself in affairs of government, and who displayed 
tendencies to melancholia and even insanity, was firmly of 
the opinion that Spain needed peace, and at a time when 
Europe was engaging in another great conflict, the Seven 
Years War, he declined the overtures of both France and 
England, the leading opponents in the struggle, even when 
accompanied by such tempting bait as the latter s offer of 
the restitution of much-desired Gibraltar and Minorca. 
In 1759 he died without issue, and his half-brother, Charles, 
son of Isabel Farnesio, came to the throne of Spain, after a 
long experience as a ruler in Italy. Thus did the " Termagant 
of Spain" achieve yet a new victory to reward her maternal 
ambition, and meanwhile the Two Sicilies were not lost 
to her line, for that kingdom passed to her grandson Fer 
dinand, the third son of Charles. 



UNDER Charles III, Spain reached the highest point she has 
attained since the sixteenth century. In many respects the 
internal situation was better at this time than in the great 
days of the siglo de oro, but Spain s relative authority in 
Europe was less, because of the striking advances which had 
been made by the other powers. One of them, England, 
was particularly dangerous, and it will be found that Spain s 
foreign policy in this reign was directed primarily toward 
meeting the possibility of war with that country. Other 
difficulties, such as those with Portugal and Morocco, 
particularly with the former, were cogent factors because of 
the relations which England bore, or was believed to bear, to 
them. Contrary to the impression usually to be derived 
from the histories of the American Revolution, Spain was 
intensely hostile to England throughout this reign. To 
oppose that country the Family Compact with France was 
formed, and continued to be the basis of Spain s foreign 
policy, although it early became manifest that France would 
honor the treaty only when it suited her purposes. In the 
end the policies of Charles III were crowned with success, 
not so great as Spain could have wished, but sufficiently 
so to make this reign the most pleasingly satisfactory to 
Spaniards of any since the days of Isabella, next to whom 
Charles III has some claim to rank as the greatest Spanish 
monarch of modern times. This becomes the more worthy 
of belief when one investigates the sweeping character of 
and the success attained in the social, political, and economic 
reforms of the period. These were at the basis of Spain s 


of the 
reign of 
III and 



Causes of 
Ill s 
policy of 
to Eng 

victories in European councils, for they provided the sinews 
of war. Nevertheless there was one drawback. The re 
forms in the Americas, following the precedent of nearly 
three centuries, were undertaken more with a view to the 
production of revenues for Spain than for the contented 
development of the colonies themselves. Spain also ran 
counter to a new force in world history, which she herself 
was obliged by circumstances to assist in establishing itself. 
The spirit of world democracy was born with the American 
Revolution, and appeared in France soon afterward. This 
meant that the autocratic basis of Spanish greatness was 
presently to be destroyed. The success of the American 
Revolution was to be related in no small degree to the loss of 
Spain s colonial empire. The failure of the French Revolu 
tion was to produce a powerful despot who was to bring 
Spain, under Charles IV, to the lowest point she had reached 
since the days of Charles II. Nevertheless, the reign of 
Charles III is to be considered as something more than a 
brilliant moment in history without ultimate effect. The 
internal reforms were of permanent benefit to Spain and 
even to the Americas, capable of utilization under the more 
democratic systems of the future. Finally, the part played 
by Spain in the successful issue of the American Revolution 
deserves to bulk large, even though she could not look with 
sympathy upon a movement which, she clearly saw, might 
bring about her own ruin. 

Many writers have ascribed Charles Ill s policy of oppo 
sition to England to his hatred of that country, growing out 
of certain humiliations forced upon him by an English fleet 
while he was king in Naples. There is no reason to believe, 
however, that this feeling, if indeed it did exist in unusual 
degree, dominated his political action, and in fact Charles 
was always a partisan of peace ; far from plunging into war 
he had rather to be convinced of its necessity. There were 
reasons in plenty to induce him to such a course, irrespective 
of any personal spite he might have felt. Prior to the reign 
of Charles, Spain had alreadv engaged in four wars with 
England (1702-1713, 1718-1720, 1727-1729, 1739-1748) in 
the course of half a century, and at no time in the Bourbon 

CHARLES IH AND ENGLAND, 1759-1788 385 

era had the two countries been on nearly cordial terms. The 
gist of the trouble lay in the British ambition to possess the 
greatest colonial empire and the richest commerce in the 
world. For the realization of these aims it seemed necessary 
to destroy the colonial importance of France and Spain, and 
any advances in wealth or military power on the part of 
either of those countries was regarded as detrimental to the 
imperialistic designs of England. With respect to Spain, 
British contraband trade in the Americas under the cover 
of the asierdo treaty had tended to break down the Spanish 
commercial monopoly, and the annulment of the asiento had 
not put an end to the smuggling. While no territories in the 
Americas had been wrested from Spain under the Bourbons, 
the previous century had recorded many conquests by Eng 
land in the Caribbean area, principal of which was that of 
Jamaica, and along the Atlantic coast strip of North America, 
the southern part of which had been not only claimed but 
also occupied by Spain in earlier days. Meanwhile, the 
losses of France and the aggressive character of English 
foreign policy under Pitt made it appear that Spain might 
expect to be deprived of her colonies whenever the oppor 
tunity to secure them should seem ripe to England. 

From the outset of the reign of Charles III there occurred Continn- 
many incidents to heighten Spain s suspicion or anger with anceof 
respect to England. The exigencies of the war with France 
led the English to adopt many arbitrary measures against 
the as yet neutral power of Spain. English vessels stopped 
Spanish ships on the high seas, claiming a right of search, and 
seized many of them, often without justification in interna 
tional law ; the English government occupied a bit of Spanish 
territory, and did not abandon it with a good grace; and 
there were instances when Spanish merchants in England 
were treated badly. Meanwhile, British acts of aggression 
and smuggling in the Americas continued to take place ; the 
English placed difficulties in the way of Spanish fishing off 
the coast of Newfoundland, though beyond the territorial 
waters of the British domain ; they founded establishments 
in Honduras without authorization from Spain, and began 
to cut the valuable dyewoods there; and Gibraltar and 







Spain s 

entry into 

the Seven 

Years 1 


losses in 
the Seven 
Years 1 

Minorca still remained in English hands, a standing affront 
to Spanish pride and a danger to the peninsula. Neverthe 
less, the underlying factor which influenced Spain was the 
imperialism of England, backed up as it was by her vast 
resources and her almost invincible navy. Charles did not 
wish to bring Spain into the war, but it was clear that an 
overwhelming defeat for France would be almost equally 
disadvantageous to Spain, who might expect to receive the 
next shock from the English arms. France had gotten much 
the worst of it in the Seven Years War when Charles III 
ascended the Spanish throne, wherefore Charles endeavored 
to mediate between that power and England. The British 
government s arrogant rejection of his proffer tended only to 
make him the more disposed to consider an alliance with 
France. When, therefore, the French authorities approached 
him with the proposal for an alliance he resolved to join with 
them if England should refuse to meet Spain s demands 
relative to the release of captured Spanish ships, the free use 
of the Newfoundland fisheries, and the abandonment of the 
English settlements in Honduras. England not only refused 
to give satisfaction, but also asked for an explanation of the 
naval preparations Spain was making. Thereupon, Charles 
prepared for war. Two treaties, called jointly the Family 
Compact, were made with the Bourbon king of France. The 
first of these, signed in August, 1761, was a defensive alliance 
against such powers as should attack either of the two 
crowns. The second, dated in February, 1762, was an 
offensive and defensive alliance directed specifically against 
England. War, meanwhile, had already been declared in 

In the ensuing campaign France and Spain were badly 
beaten. Manila and Havana were taken by the English, 
although Spain won a notable success in the capture of 
Sacramento, a Portuguese colony on the Rio de la Plata, 
for Portugal had entered the war on the side of England. 
Twenty-seven richly laden English boats were taken ^at 
Sacramento, significant of the profits which the English 
merchants were making in contraband trade, using Sacra 
mento as a base. In 1763 a peace which was in many re- 

CHAELES m AND ENGLAOT), 1759~1788 387 

spects humiliating to Spain was signed at Paris. England 
restored Manila and Havana, but required the cession of 
Florida and all other Spanish territories east of the Mis 
sissippi ; Sacramento was returned to Portugal ; Spain gave 
up all rights of her subjects to fish in Newfoundland waters ; 
questions arising out of the English captures of Spanish 
ships prior to Spain s entry into the war were to be decided 
by the British courts of admiralty; and the English right 
to cut dyewoods in Honduras was acknowledged, although 
England agreed to the demolition of all the fortifications 
which British subjects might have constructed there. France, 
who had lost practically all her other colonies to England, 
now gave the scantily settled, ill-defined region of French 
influence west of the Mississippi, all that remained of 
French Louisiana, to Spain. According to the terms 
of the grant it was to compensate Spain for her loss of 
Florida, but in fact it was in order to ensure the continued 
alliance of Spain with France. 

The peace of 1763 was looked upon by France and Spain Prepara- 
as a truce, for if England had been dangerous before, she was tions for 

doubly so now. France wished revenge and the restoration a renewal 
A , ** , . inn**-*! j.* of tne war. 

of her overseas domains, while Spain s principal motive was 

a desire to save her colonies from conquest by England. 
Both countries therefore bent their energies to preparations 
for another war ; in Spain the next decade and a half was a 
period of remarkable economic reforms tending to the re 
generation of the peninsula as the basis for an army and 
navy. Meanwhile, steps were taken to avoid the possi 
bility of an English descent upon the Spanish West Indies, 
which were regarded as the principal danger-point, both 
because of the strength of England s position in the Caribbean 
area, and because that region was the key to the Spanish 
mainland colonies of the two Americas. Pretexts for pretexts 
trouble were not lacking. The English dyewood cutters for war. 
of Honduras did not observe the restrictions placed upon 
them by the treaty of Paris, and the British government 
neglected to satisfy Spain s complaints in that regard ; the 
French settlers of Louisiana refused to acknowledge their 
transfer to the Spanish crown, wherefore it was necessary 


to employ force against them, and it was believed that 
English agents had instigated them to resist; on the other 
hand England repeatedly demanded the payment of a ransom 
which the English conquerors of Manila had exacted from 
The that city, but Spain refused to pay the claim. The principal 

Falkland diplomatic interest down to 1771, however, was the so-called 
question of the Falkland Islands (called Malouines by the 
French, and Maluinas by Spaniards). This group, lying 
some 250 miles east of the Strait of Magellan, seems to have 
been discovered by Spanish navigators of the sixteenth 
century, for a description of the islands was in the possession 
of the Spanish authorities at an early time. The first 
English voyage to this group was that of Captain Cowley, 
as late as 1686, but no claim could be made on this basis, for 
in 1748 England formally recognized the rights of Spain. 
Not much attention was paid to the Falklands until after 
the Seven Years War, although various navigators visited 
them, but in 1763 a Spanish pilot, Mathei, made the first of 
a series of voyages to these islands. In 1764 a French ex 
pedition under Bougainville landed at one of them, and 
formed a settlement, and in the next year the English cap 
tain, Biron, touched at a place called Port Egmont by him, 
took formal possession for England, applying the name 
Falkland to the group, and proceeded on his way to the 
Pacific Ocean and around the world. Not long afterward 
an English settlement was made at Port Egmont, and the 
governor no sooner heard of the presence of the French than 
he ordered their withdrawal. Meanwhile, the Spanish gov 
ernment had lodged a complaint at the French court against 
the occupation of the islands by France, and an agreement 
was reached, whereby the French should abandon the group 
and a Spanish settlement there should be formed. This 
was done, and the English and Spanish governors began 
mutually to demand each other s withdrawal, the English 
man setting a time limit of six months. The Spanish gov 
ernment directed the captain-general of Buenos Aires to 
expel the English settlers, and accordingly, though not 
until June, 1770, these orders were carried out. When the 
news reached England the British Parliament voted funds 

CHAKLES IH AND ENGLAND, 1759-1788 389 

in preparation for war, and made excessive demands for 
reparation for what was considered an insult to England as 
well as for the restitution of the colony. Spain, in reliance 
upon the Family Compact, was not inclined to avoid the 
issue, and matters even went so far as the retirement of the 
Spanish and English ambassadors, when an unforeseen event 
occurred, changing the whole aspect of affairs. This was 
the fall of Choiseul, the French minister who had negotiated 
the Family Compact and who was believed by Spain to be 
ready to bring France into the war. It was on this occasion 
that Louis XV is reported to have said "My minister wanted 
war, but I do not/* thus calmly disregarding the treaty with 
Spain. Consequently, Spain had to yield, and in 1771 the 
Spanish ambassador to London signed a declaration dis 
approving the removal of the English colonists and promising 
to restore Port Egmont, although without prejudice to 
Spain s claim to the islands. 1 

Spain might justly have abandoned the Family Compact Revival of 
after the Falkland incident, and for a time that treaty did the Family 
suffer a partial eclipse. Charles III felt that in future he 
could count only on his own forces, but he continued to 
increase and equip them, for the danger from England was pean 
as great as ever. Self-interest inevitably brought Spain and politics. 
France together, and with the appearance of the warlike 
Aranda in France, late in the year 1773, as Spanish ambas 
sador to that court, plans with a view to meeting the common 
enemy were again discussed. The death of Louis XV, in 
May, 1774, brought matters still more to a head, for it 
resulted in a change of ministry in France, whereby Ver- 
gennes, believed to be an enthusiastic partisan of the Family 
Compact, became minister of foreign affairs. Vergennes 
was in fact an ardent supporter of the Franco-Spanish 
alliance, although his enthusiasm was tempered in moments 
of crisis by a clear view of what most favored France, and he 
did not fail to see that he might employ it as the basis for 

1 The British settlement was abandoned in 1774, after which 
the Spaniards returned. Following the establishment of Argen 
tine independence that country occupied the Falklands, and still 
claims them. Since 1833, however, they have been in the possession, 
of England. 



with the 
states of 
the Bar- 

trade concessions from Spain, the better to build up the 
resources of France. Nevertheless, the opinion was general 
that Vergennes intended to adhere to the Family Compact, 
and consequently England planned to occupy Spain with 
other affairs, so as to separate her from France, or at least 
divert her from pursuing a common policy with the last- 
named country against England. Two matters were at 
hand, of which they might avail themselves: Spain s dis 
putes with the sultan of Morocco; and her quarrels with 
Portugal over boundaries in South America. 

The never-ending wars with the Moslems of northern 
Africa were inherited from the preceding era, and continued 
to occupy Spanish troops and fleets down to the reign of 
Charles III. In 1767 satisfactory relations between Spain 
and Morocco seemed to have been reached when the latter 
agreed to abandon piracy and recognized Spain s title to her 
establishments on the North African coast. Late in 1774, 
however, the sultan announced that he would no longer 
tolerate Christian posts in his empire, and commenced a 
siege of Melilla. The attack was beaten off, and it was 
decided to strike what was hoped might be a decisive blow 
against the dey of Algiers, the ally of the Moroccan sultan. 
An expedition of some 18,000 men was prepared, and placed 
under the command of General O Reilly, reformer of the 
Spanish army and a man of tremendous reputation, but in 
the ensuing operations before Algiers O Reilly was crushingly 
defeated with a loss of several thousand men. Rightly or 
wrongly, England was believed to have instigated the 
Moslem rulers to attack Spain. Years later, Charles came 
to an understanding with the Moslem states of the Barbary 
Coast. Between 1782 and 1786 treaties were made, whereby 
the rulers of those lands agreed once again to give up piracy 
and also the institution of slavery, besides granting certain 
religious and commercial privileges to Spaniards in their 
lands. This was not the last of piracy and warfare in North 
Africa, however ; the former endured for another generation, 
and the end of the latter, even in the restricted Spanish 
area, is not yet. 

There was a much stronger case against England with 

CKAELES HI AND ENGLAND, 1759-1788 391 

regard to Portugal, whose exaggerated claims were supported Disputes 
by the British government. The boundaries between the ^th Por " 

Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America had been u al over 
i i t - T * boundaries 

an unending source of dispute, ever since the treaty of in South 

Tordesillas in 1494, and the question was complicated by America, 
that of British and Portuguese smuggling into Spain s 
colonies. The principal scene of conflict was the Portuguese 
post of Sacramento, founded in 1679 on the eastern bank of 
the Rio de la Plata. The Spanish-owned region of Paraguay 
was also a field for Portuguese aggressions. Domestic 
animals to the number of hundreds of thousands were driven 
off from the Spanish settlements, while thousands of Indian 
families were captured and sold into slavery. Ferdinand VI 
endeavored to solve these problems through a treaty which 
he made with Portugal, in 1750, according to which Spain 
acquired Sacramento hi exchange for territories in the 
Paraguayan region. The treaty met with the spirited 
opposition of leading Spanish ministers, and with that of 
the Jesuit missionaries, the Indians, and the Spanish settlers 
in the regions affected, and after many vicissitudes, including 
a war in Paraguay, it was annulled in 1761, but the troubles 
on the border continued. One of the underlying difficulties 
was the ambition of Portugal. Under the direction of the 
Marquis of Pombal, Portuguese minister of state, she was 
desirous of making conquests in South America, for which 
purpose Pombal was willing to go to any length in bad faith 
to achieve his end, relying upon the support of England in 
case Spain should declare war. Pombal secretly directed 
the Portuguese officials in the Sacramento region to seize 
desirable Spanish territories, and when reports of these 
captures came to Europe pretended that they were false, or 
that they were nothing more than inconsequential affrays 
between the Spanish and Portuguese soldiery. He promised 
to order his troops to desist from such actions, and asked 
Charles III to do the same. The Spanish king complied with 
his wishes, while Pombal on the contrary continued to give 
orders for hostilities and to send reinforcements, hoping that 
the Portuguese might secure posts from which it would be 
impossible to dislodge them by the time his duplicity should 


be found out. Not only did he deceive Charles III for a 
while, but he also misled the English ministers, pretending 
that Portugal was a victim of Spanish ambition when the 
facts were quite the contrary. England supported Pombal 
with vigorous diplomatic action. By the close of the year 

1775, however, England was so busily engaged in the dis 
putes with her own colonies that she was far from desiring a 
war in Europe. The British Cabinet announced that it 
would take no part in the quarrel between Spain and Portu 
gal, provided Charles III should make no attempts on the 
territorial integrity of Portugal and Brazil. Pombal now 
made peaceful overtures to Charles III, hoping to delay the 
sending of Spanish troops to South America, but the proofs 
of Pombal s perfidy were by this time so clear that the king 
of Spain would not trust him. In fact, a Portuguese fleet 
in South America attacked the Spanish fleet, in February, 

1776, and shortly afterward the Portuguese captured the 
Spanish post of Santa Tecla. In November a Spanish 
expedition left Cadiz, and on arrival in South America put a 
check to the Portuguese aggressions, and captured Sacra 
mento. Fortune played into Spain s hands in another 
respect when Maria Victoria, sister of Charles III, became 
regent of Portugal on the death of the king in 1777. This 
occasioned the dismissal of Pombal, and in October of that 
year a treaty was arranged between Spain and Portugal 
entirely favorable to the former. The much-disputed 
Sacramento colony was awarded to Spain, while Paraguay 
was retained. This treaty, supplemented by another in 
1778, put an end, after nearly three centuries, to the disputes 
between Spain and Portugal with regard to their American 

Disputes In the midst of Spain s preparations for a -war against 
0f -^Tf, lail(i England there loomed up a new factor, the troubles between 
American England and her American colonies. Down to 1774 Spain 
colonies as had proceeded without reference to these disputes, ardently 
a factor in desirous of war whenever France should be ready, although 
Spain -, Charles III himself was conservative with regard to a decla- 
foreign ra tion. Until late in the year 1774 France and Spain, 
P Cy " together with most Englishmen, believed that the colonial 

CHARLES in AND EXGLAOT>, 1759-1788 393 

situation was merely a Whig device against the Tories. The 
first inkling of the seriousness of the situation seems to have 
come in a report of the French ambassador, in June, 1774, 
quoting a remark of the British minister, Lord Rochford, 
that the Boston rioters were descendants of Cromwell s 
Puritans, implying that they would fight. Both France 
and Spain welcomed the news, believing that it would keep 
England engaged until the Bourbon powers could get ready 
to strike.^ In December, 1774, Gamier, the French charge 
d affaires in London, had become convinced that the Ameri 
can dispute was the most important event in English history 
since the revolution of 1688, and he suggested that France 
should give secret aid to the Americans. In January, 1775, 
he reported that an army of 9000 men was being sent to the 
colonies, and sounded a warning lest they make a descent upon 
the French West Indies, whether in the flush of victory, or 
in order to gain a recompense in case of defeat. The Spanish 
court was informed of this opinion, and in March, 1775, 
received a similar message from Escarano, the Spanish 
minister in London, who stated that England had 11,736 
soldiers in America (a great force as colonial armies went) 
and could easily attack Spain s possessions, both because 
they were near, and because the British had so many trans 
ports at hand. He was of the opinion that England could 
not defeat America with her " three million souls, guided by 
the enthusiasm of liberty, and accustomed to live in a kind 
of independence/ a people "who had given so many proofs 
of valor." The danger of a return to power of William 
Pitt, the imperialist, now Lord Chatham, was also alluded 
to. Spain at once consulted with France whether it would 
not be advisable to break with England immediately, but 
Vergennes was not ready. So the matter was dropped, 
although a remark attributed to Lord Rochford that the 
Americans could be won back to allegiance by an English 
declaration of war against France did not tend to allay 
the Bourbon feeling of insecurity. 

At about this time the Spanish authorities began to be 
impressed by the idea, first expressed by Aranda in July, 
1775, that the American outbreak would endanger Spam s 


Disad- colonial empire. According to Aranda an independent 
vantages America would be a menace, as her population was increas- 
to Spain -^ an( ^ conse q ue ntly she needed lands, which she would be 
tory by a P^ ^ see ^ m a re gi n ^th a temperate climate like New 
either the Spain, rather than by expansion northward. Thus the 
United Anglo-Americans might eventually dominate North America, 
States or or j ie ip Spain s colonies to become independent. On the 
and effect ot ^ er hand, if England should defeat the colonists, the latter 
on Spain s would join with her in her wars as in the past, and the danger 
policy. would be equally great. Thus Spain seemed to be between 
two horns of the dilemma. Up to this time she had been 
ready for a declaration of war whenever France should 
announce her willingness. Henceforth there was a more 
conservative note in Spain s attitude, while France, who had 
everything to gain and nothing to lose, threw off her former 
conservatism and became increasingly enthusiastic. Up to 
the close of the year 1776, however, Spain still leaned toward 
war, and France remained undecided as to the moment to 
strike. During this period Spain was influenced largely by 
the question with Portugal. In September, 1776, Vergennes 
informed Aranda that in his opinion the war ought soon to be 
begun, before England herself should declare it and make an 
attack on France and Spain. Spain s attitude was expressed 
by Grimaldi, the Spanish minister of state, in a letter to 
Aranda in October. The war was inevitable, he said, and it 
would be an advantage to begin it several months before 
England was ready to undertake it. Spain would leave it 
to the decision of France whether the declaration should 
be made at once. Incidentally, Spain hoped to conquer 
Portugal in course of the war. This frank statement found 
Vergennes less enthusiastic. Moreover, he objected to 
Spain s designs on Portugal, lest other European powers 
should be unfavorable to them. Once again the matter was 
dropped. Some of the higher Spanish officials were dis 
appointed over these continued refusals by France, but 
Charles III said that for his part he believed the right 
moment had not come. Meanwhile, since June, 1776, 
Spain had been aiding the Americans secretly with money, 
arms, and ammunition, much of which was made available 

CHARLES m AND ENGLAND, 1759-1788 395 

through shipment to New Orleans by way of Havana, and 
thence to destination. Nevertheless, Vergennes refusal, 
in November, to begin the war marked the turning point in 
the attitude of both France and Spain. The disadvantages, 
henceforth, loomed larger and larger in the eyes of Spain, 
while the successful resistance of the Americans to England 
made the way more and more easy for France. 

The new attitude of Spain was represented by both Charles Spain s 
III and Floridablanca, who succeeded Grimaldi early in divergence 
1777. According to Floridablanca the most immediate from 
advantages which Spam might hope to gain from the war ^v^ the 
were the recovery of Florida and the expulsion of the English American 
from Honduras. War ought not to be declared, however, Revolu- 
until both France and Spain should have considerable forces 
in the West Indies. Furthermore, if the rebellious English 
colonies should establish their independence, Spain ought to 
contrive to keep them divided in interests, so that there 
might not grow up a formidable power near Spanish America. 
Clearly there was no enthusiasm in Spanish governmental 
circles on behalf of the Americans. This appears also from 
the cold reception accorded Arthur Lee, the American repre 
sentative, who at about this time arrived in Spain, but was 
not received by the Spanish court. The breach between the 
respective courses of France and Spain was still further 
widened as a result of Burgoyne s surrender to the Americans 
at Saratoga. The British government began to make offers 
with a view to conciliating the colonists. France acted 
quickly to prevent it, for it was believed that a reconciliation 
would mean a loss of the commercial favors France hoped to 
get and perhaps a war with England in which the colonies 
would join on the English side. In December, 1777, there 
fore, France declared herself ready to enter into a treaty of 
commerce and alliance with the American government, 
specifically stating that her willingness was due partially to 
a desire to diminish the power of England by separating her 
from her colonies. In February, 1778, a treaty was signed. 
All of this was done, in violation of the spirit of the Family 
Compact, without any official notification to Spain. Spain s 
opinion of this procedure was voiced by Floridablanca, who 


recommended to Charles III that Spain should continue her 
preparations, as if war were inevitable, but should avoid a 
declaration as long as possible, for under existing circum 
stances, one of which was the inconstancy of Spain s allies, 
the war could not result favorably for Spain. Henceforth, 
Spain pursued an independent policy. The English govern 
ment was informed that Spain s attitude would depend upon 
England ; Spain neither wished war nor feared it. France, 
meanwhile, had entered the conflict. 

Failure of Charles III now began to attempt the part of a mediator, 
mediation j n hopes that he might get Gibraltar and Minorca as the 
Spain s P r * ce ^ or Bringing about peace. In May, 1778, Escarano 
entry into suggested to Lord Weymouth, a member of the British 
the war. ministry, that Gibraltar would be a fair equivalent for Spain s 
services, but was told that the price was too high, and that 
affairs had probably gone beyond the point where mediation 
would serve; England wanted no more from Spain than 
that she remain neutral. In making this reply Lord Wey 
mouth rather brusquely thanked Charles III for the mag 
nanimity of his offer, a type of answer which was not 
calculated to be pleasing to the Spanish ear, as Floridablanca 
very plainly intimated to the English ambassador. To add 
to Spain s displeasure England s conduct on the sea gave 
cause for complaint. Nevertheless, Charles still hoped to 
serve as arbitrator, all the more so, when news came of 
French naval victories over the English. He prevailed upon 
Louis XVI to submit the terms upon which he would make 
peace. The conditions, which included an acknowledgment 
of American independence and the recall of England s land 
and sea forces, were presented to Lord Weymouth, who 
haughtily rejected them. Late in the same year, 1778, 
Spain s proposal of a twenty-five or thirty year truce be 
tween England and her colonies was also rejected. Nothing 
could exceed the patience of Charles HI, who then offered 
Weymouth an indefinite armistice, to be guaranteed by a 
general disarmament. Again the Spanish king s proposals 
were arrogantly rejected. To make matters worse, England 
had delayed her reply from January to March, 1779, and her 
ships had continued to attack those of Spain. On April 3, 

CHARLES in AOT> ENGLAND, 1759-1788 397 

Charles renewed his offer of a suspension of hostilities, this 
time in the form of an ultimatum. England did not an 
swer for nearly two months, and in the meantime, seeing 
that war was inevitable, planned attacks on the Spanish 
colonies. On May 28 the ultimatum was rejected, and on 
June 23 war was declared. 

Spain was well prepared for the war, besides which the The war 
favorable state of her relations with Portugal, and indeed ^th Eng- 
with other countries, was a source of strength. France and ^ nd and 
Spain planned an invasion of Engknd which did not ma- aUe^issua 
terialize, but it did cause the retention of the English fleet in 
British waters and a diminution in the military forces sent 
to America, a factor in the American war not to be over 
looked^ The attempts to retake Gibraltar were unsuccessful, 
but in 1782 Minorca fell into Spanish hands. In America, 
Florida was reconquered from the British, the establishments 
in Honduras were taken, and the English were expelled from 
the Bahama Islands of the West Indies. Meanwhile, Eng 
land displayed great eagerness to remove Spain from the 
list of her enemies. Late in 1779 she offered to restore 
Gibraltar for the price of Spanish neutrality, and to add 
Florida and the right to fish in Newfoundland waters if 
Spain would aid her against the United States. Not only 
this time but also on two other occasions when England 
endeavored to treat separately with Spain her offers were 
rejected, even though they embodied favorable terms for 
withdrawal from the war. In an age when international 
faith was not very sacred, Spain preferred to remain true to 
France, with whom she had renewed her alliance, although 
to be sure England s promises never equalled Spain s hopes. 
It is also interesting to note, not only that the Americans 
had a representative in Spam (John Jay), but also that there 
were agents of Spain in the United States (Miralles and 
Rendon), besides which Bernardo de Galvez, the conqueror 
of Florida, had dealings with American agents at New 
Orleans. The general relations of the two governments 
cannot be said to have been cordial, however, and at no 
time was there anything approaching a veritable alliance ; 
Bourbon Spain could not possibly approve of the democratic 


United States. By the treaty of 1783, which ended the war, 
Spain got Florida and Minorca, and limited the dyewood 
privileges of the English in Honduras to a term of years. On 
the other hand Spain restored the Bahamas to England. An 
interesting period of relations between Spain and the United 
States, having to do primarily with the regions of the lower 
Mississippi valley, began in the closing years of the reign of 
Charles III, but the story belongs rather to the colonial side 
of the history of Spain. 

Death of In December, 1788, Charles III died. As will be made 

Charles more clear in the chapters dealing with institutions, he had 

brought Spain forward to the position of a first rank power 

again, even though her enjoyment of that high station 

was to be of brief duration. 



IF the reign of Charles III, despite the close union of the Dominat 
Bourbon crowns, had been characterized mainly in its ex- in ciiar - 
ternal manifestations by the hostility of Spain to England, ^^^ 
that of Charles IV (1788-1808) was dominated by relations ^^ 
with France. Unaffected for a while by the principles France 
underlying the French Revolution, Spain was toppled from and their 
her position as a first-rate power by the Emperor Napoleon, effects 
whose designs for world power and whose methods in seek- 
ing it were not unlike those followed over a century later by 
William II of Germany. Meanwhile, the ideas of the 
American and the French revolutions were permeating the 
Spanish colonies, and as the wars with England continued 
during much of this reign, shutting off effective communi 
cation between the colonies and Spain, a chance was offered 
for putting them into effect in the new world. The way was 
well prepared in the reign of Charles IV, though the out 
break was postponed until after his fall. The blow struck 
by Napoleon was not without its compensations, which in 
the long run may be considered to have outweighed the loss 
of prestige. Napoleon, quite without intention, gave Spain 
an impulse to national feeling, in the uprising against French 
domination, which was greater than any she had formerly ex 
perienced, and of sufficient force to endure to the present 
day. In the same roundabout way Napoleon gave the Spain 
of the Dos de Mayo, or Second of May (the date of the revolt 
against Napoleon, and the national holiday of Spain), her 
first opportunity to imbibe democratic ideas. 

To cope with the great forces of the French Revolution 



The and the Napoleonic Empire, Spain had to rely on the leader- 

Nootka ship of the weak, timid, vacillating Charles IV. His pre- 
affair^and j ecessor had left him a legacy of able ministers, but these 

repu^T were not J on g sustained b y th . e k^S- At the outset Florida- 
tion of the blanca still ruled as first minister of state. He was liberal- 
Family minded as concerned social and economic institutions, but 
Compact. was profoundly royalist in his political ideas and an enemy 
of anything which represented a diminution in the pre 
rogatives of the crown. He was alarmed by the ideas which 
were being spread broadcast in France, and took steps to 
prevent their introduction into Spain, becoming recognized 
as an opponent of the French Revolution. In the midst of 
this situation, there occurred the Nootka affair, which 
obliged him for a time to change his policy. A Spanish 
voyage of 1789 to the northwest coast of North America 
had resulted in the discovery and capture of two English 
ships at Nootka, on the western shore of Vancouver Island. 
Floridablanca informed the English government of this 
event, in January, 1790, complaining of the frequent usurpa 
tions of Spanish colonial territories by British subjects, and 
asking for the recognition of Spain s ownership of Nootka, 
which had been discovered by a Spanish voyage of 1774. 
What followed was very nearly a duplicate of the Falkland 
incident, twenty years before. England claimed that the 
British flag had been insulted, and demanded satisfaction, 
which Floridablanca refused to give, as it involved the 
acknowledgment of a doubt concerning Spain s ownership 
of Nootka. War seemed imminent, and the French govern 
ment was invoked to stand by the Family Compact. The 
National Assembly, then in actual control in France, acknowl 
edged the obligation, but attached conditions (having to do 
with the revolution) to their willingness to declare war. with 
the result that Charles IV and Floridablanca decided that it 
was better to avoid a rupture with England. A series of 
three treaties, from 1790 to 1794, arranged for the payment 
of an indemnity by Spain, and among other matters agreed 
that the ships of both nations should have a right to sail the 
waters and make landings freely in regions not already 
settled by either power. In effect, therefore, the lands north 

CHARLES IV AND FRANCE, 1788-1808 401 

of the Spanish settlements were thrown open to the entry of 
England. These treaties had a significance which was 
wider than that of the matters directly involved. They 
marked a new spirit in the direction of colonial affairs. In 
the early years of the conquest Spain had played an aggres 
sive part, followed soon by the adoption of what might be 
termed an aggressive defensive, or a willingness to fight for 
the retention of what she had, leading also to further con 
quests in order to ward off foreign attack. The Nootka 
affair was the beginning of a spiritless, waiting kind of 
defensive, the inevitable outcome of which was disintegration. 

The Nootka treaties left Spain free, however, to stand in Florida- 
opposition to the French Revolution. Louis XVI of France Wanca and 
had written secretly to Charles IV, in 1789, that he had been ^ pa ^ ioa 
compelled to agree to measures of which he did not approve. to tiie 
Other European monarchs were also acquainted with the French 
perils of Louis XVFs position, and in the general interests Revolu- 
of kingship, all desired to save him, although in the case of tion - 
Spain there was the strong bond of family ties as well. In 

1790 Floridablanca directed a note to the French Assembly 
requesting greater freedom of action for Louis XVI, making 
thinly veiled threats in case of a refusal to comply. This 
action only served to enrage the French government. In 

1791 Floridablanca ordered the taking of a census of all 
foreigners in Spain, about half of whom were Frenchmen, 
compelling them to swear allegiance to the king, the laws, 
and the religion of the peninsula. A subsequent order 
prohibited the entry of any literature of a revolutionary 
bearing, even going so far as to forbid foreigners to receive 
letters. When Louis XVI accepted the constitution of 
1791 Floridablanca announced that Charles IV refused to 
recognize that the French king had signed the document of 
his own free will, and asked that Louis XVI and his family 
be allowed to go to a neutral land, threatening war if the 
French government should fail to accede to Charles wishes. 
Here was a direct challenge to the revolution, but instead 
of accepting the gauntlet France sent an agent to Spain who 
was able to persuade Charles IV that Floridablanca s policy 
was in fact contributing to the dangerous position of Louis 




of Aranda. 

and the 
cance of 
his rela 
tions with 
the queen. 

XVI. Floridablanca was therefore relieved from power 
early in 1792, and Aranda became first minister in Spain. 

Aranda, who sympathized to some extent with the revo 
lutionary ideas, placed the relations with France on a more 
cordial basis, although without relinquishing the efforts 
which were being made in company with other European 
sovereigns to save Louis XVI. When the news came of the 
revolutionary excesses of the summer of 1792 Aranda, who 
had not expected such a turn of affairs, became more stern, 
and began to consider the advisability of joint military action 
with Austria, Prussia, and Sardinia. Meanwhile, the French 
government demanded the alliance of Spain or offered the 
alternative of war. Induced in part by a doubt with regard 
to the best policy to pursue for the sake of Louis XVI, Spain 
hesitated, and suggested a treaty of neutrality. France im 
posed conditions which it was impossible for Spain to accept, 
among them the recognitioa of the French Republic, which 
had just been proclaimed. Before Aranda could meet the 
problem in a decisive manner he was dispossessed of his 
post as the result of a palace plot in favor of Manuel Godoy. 

At the time of his accession to the headship of the Spanish 
ministry in 1792 Godoy was a mere youth, twenty-five years 
of age. Formerly a soldier of the royal guard, he had been 
selected by Charles IV with the specific idea of training him 
to be his leading minister, for the king believed that the 
plebeian Godoy would, out of necessity, be devotedly at 
tached to the royal interests. The queen, Maria Luisa, was 
influential in the choice of Godoy, for there is little doubt 
that she was already the mistress of this upstart youth. 
Godoy s abilities have perhaps been condemned too harshly. 
He was a man of ambition and some talent, and had studied 
assiduously to fit himself for his eventual post. Neverthe 
less, his sudden rise to high rank in the nobility (for he had 
been made Duke of Alcudia) and in political office, together 
with the notoriety of his relations with the queen, caused 
an indignation in Spain which was to result in the forming of 
a party opposed to him, a group which the enemies of 
Spain were able to manipulate to advantage. 

Godoy continued the efforts of his predecessors to save 

CHARLES IV AND FRANCE, 1788-1808 403 

Louis XVI, without more success than they, and when he de- War with 
clined to accede to the conditions imposed by the French France 
Convention, then ruling in France, that body early in 1793 and the 
declared war on Spain._ The war against France was joined ^f/ f 
by most of the countries of western Europe. One by one, 
however, the continental princes fell away, and urged Spain 
to do the same. The war itself, so far as Spain was concerned, 
was not decisive either way, although France had a little the 
better of it. In 1795 negotiations were undertaken which 
resulted in ^the treaty of Basle. The Pyrenean boundary 
was maintained, but Spain ceded that portion of the island 
of Hayti, or Santo Domingo, which still belonged to her, 
thus acknowledging the French title to the whole island. 1 
The government of England, with which Spain had allied Difficul- 
for the war with France, was exceedingly annoyed by Spain s ties ^ th 
acceptance of peace, and very soon began to act in a threaten- En | lan(i 
ing manner. Even as an ally in the recent war England had j^ nc * ^ th 
not been altogether cordial toward Spain. On one occasion France. 
a Spanish treasure ship which had been captured by the 
French was retaken by the English, and retained as a prize ; 
Englishmen had continued to engage in contraband trade, 
not only in Spanish America, but also in the peninsula itself ; 
they had been responsible for encouraging separatist feelings 
in Spanish America, well knowing that the independence of 
Spain s colonies would result in advantages to British com 
merce ; and England had refused to grant Spain a subsidy 
for the 1795 campaign, a factor with a bearing on Spain s 
action, whatever the merits of the case. The resentment of 
the Spanish court was now provoked by insults which were 
offered to the Spanish ambassador to London and by attacks 
on Spanish ships, just as formerly in the reign of Charles III. 
The natural effect was to drive Spain into the arms of France. 
An alliance was formed in 1796 which was followed by a 
declaration of war against England. It is highly probable 
that Charles IV was induced to form this union by a be 
lief, fostered perhaps by French intrigue, that the French 

1 For negotiating this treaty, which certainly did not redound 
greatly to the advantage of Spain, Godoy won the title of Prince 
of the Peace. 



from the 

with Na 
poleon and 
the war 
with Por 

Republic was about to collapse, in which event it seemed 
likely that a Spanish Bourbon might be called to the throne 
of France. 

Spam s experience as an ally of France was not more 
happy than her previous union with England. France 
excluded her from representation at several conferences 
looking to treaties of peace between France and her enemies, 
and made slight efforts to secure the interests of Spain, 
going so far as to refuse her sanction to many of the pre 
tensions of her Bourbon ally. Most annoying of all was the 
dispossession of the Duke of Parma, a relative of Charles IV 
by descent from Isabel Famesio. The French government 
endeavored to calm Spanish feelings on this point by offering 
to make Godoy the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, 
an honor he was disposed to accept, subject to certain 
conditions, one of which was that he be absolved from the 
vow of chastity. In fact, however, the French authorities 
were suspicious of Godoy, believing that he was secretly 
plotting with England, because he did not insist on Portugal s 
refusing to allow the English fleets to remain in Portuguese 
ports. A French representative was sent to Spain in 1797, 
and the dismissal of Godoy was procured from Charles IV. 
Nevertheless, Godoy continued to be the principal force at 
the Spanish court, backed as he was by the powerful in 
fluence of the queen. The policy of truculence to France 
went on, however, due in part perhaps to Charles continued 
hopes of acquiring the Bourbon crown, but even more, very 
likely, to his pusillanimity in the face of the threats of the 
French Directory. In 1799 his hopes were dashed when 
Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the Directory and became 
first consul of France, a title which a few years later he con 
verted into that of emperor. 

The change of government in France was welcomed at the 
Spanish court, for it was believed that Spain would receive 
more consideration at the hands of Napoleon than she had 
obtained from the Directory. Events proved that Spain was 
to be even more an instrument in French hands than for 
merly, and that Napoleon was to be more powerful and 
despotic and less courteous and faithful in international 

CHARLES IV AND FRANCE, 1788-1808 405 

affairs than the French rulers who had preceded him. One 
of his earliest acts was an attempt to employ the Spanish 
fleet to conserve French ends. When the Spanish admiral 
refused to carry out the wishes of Napoleon, a matter in 
which he was sustained by his government, the French ruler 
brought about the dismissal of Urquijo, at that time first 
minister of state in Spam, and shortly afterward the offending 
admiral was relieved from his command. Meanwhile, a 
treaty had been arranged in 1800 whereby Napoleon agreed 
to enlarge the dominions of the Duke of Parma (who had 
regained his duchy) in exchange for the recession of Louisiana 
to France and the gift of six ships of war. By a treaty of 
1801 Tuscany was granted to the family of the Duke of 
Parma, whose whole domains were now called the kingdom 
of Etruria. It was provided that in case of a lack of succes 
sion of the reigning house a Spanish prince of the royal family 
should inherit the Etrurian throne, and this was to be the 
rule forever. Another treaty of 1801 required Spain to 
issue an ultimatum to Portugal demanding an abandonment 
of the English alliance. The name of Godoy was signed to 
the later treaties hi the series of which the above have been 
mentioned. He had not ceased to be influential during his 
absence from power, but henceforth until 1808 he was 
definitely in the saddle. Though his military experience 
was slight he was appointed general of the Spanish army 
which was to invade Portugal, and when war was presently 
declared he entered that country. The campaign, although 
comparatively insignificant, resulted hi victory. Portugal 
agreed to close her ports in return for the Spanish king s 
guarantee of the territorial integrity of Portugal. A cele 
bration was held at Badajoz, at which the soldiers presented 
the queen with branches of orange trees taken from Portu 
guese groves, resulting hi the application of the name "war 
of the oranges/ which fittingly described its inconsequen 
tial character. Napoleon was furious over such a termination 
of the war, and went so far as to threaten the end of the 
Spanish monarchy unless the campaign were pursued. At 
length he decided to accept the result, after Portugal had 
consented to increase the indemnity which she had originally 



ties of 
and dec 
of war 




and the 

project to 



agreed to pay to France. This marked a beginning, how 
ever, of the French ruler s distrust of Godoy. Shortly 
afterward it suited Napoleon s purposes to make peace. In 
1802 a treaty was signed with England, and, naturally, 
Spain too made peace. Minorca, which had been occupied 
by the English, was restored to Spain, but the island of 
Trinidad was surrendered to England, another bit chipped 
off Spain s colonial empire. 

Godoy had emerged from the Portuguese campaign as 
general-in-chief of the armies of the land and sea, and was 
again the dominating power at court. By this time a strong 
opposition had grown up around Ferdinand, the eldest son 
of the king, directed by an ambitious canon, named Escoiquiz. 
Napoleon now had a political force at hand, to employ when 
ever he should desire it, against Godoy. Early in 1803 
Napoleon was again at war with England, and proceeded to 
woo Spain s support by charges that she was favoring Eng 
land and by threats of war. In the same year, too, he sold 
Louisiana to the United States, although he had promised 
Spain at the time of the recession that France would never 
transfer that region to any country other than Spain. Spain 
protested, but soon accepted the situation. Later in 1803 
Napoleon compelled Spain to consent to a so-called treaty 
of neutrality, which in fact amounted to the paying of a 
monthly tribute to France. England objected, and fol 
lowed up her complaints by capturing three Spanish frigates 
and stopping merchantmen, without a declaration of war. 
England announced that ^he was holding the frigates as a 
guarantee of Spanish neutrality. Thus courted with equal 
roughness by France and England, Spain was again under 
the necessity of choosing which of her enemies to fight. 
England was selected, and in 1804 war against that country 
was declared. 

In 1805 there occurred the great battle of Trafalgar, in 
which the French and Spanish navies were virtually de 
stroyed by the English under Nelson. The immediate 
results of this defeat as affecting Spanish action was the 
decision of Godoy, who had never enjoyed cordial relations 
with Napoleon, to seek an alliance with England. Through 



this agency he hoped to bolster up his own power as against 
the rapidly growing body of his enemies in Spain. In the 
midst of his plans came Napoleon s great victory over 
Prussia at Jena in 1806, which, following that of Austerlitz 
over Austria in 1805, once again made the French emperor 
dangerously predominant on the continent of western 
Europe. Godoy, who had already compromised himself, 
made haste to explain. Napoleon pretended to be satis 
fied, but decided then that he would make an end of the 
Bourbon monarchy. The unpopularity of Godoy and the 
strength of the party of Ferdinand, who was now a popular 
favorite, were among the means of which he availed himself ; 
Ferdinand even wrote him letters in which he alluded freely 
to his mother s adulterous relations with Godoy. Mean 
while, Napoleon profited by Godoy s willingness to do any 
thing to win the favor of the emperor by arranging for the 
conquest of Portugal. A partition of that territory was 
projected whereby the Bourbon monarch of Etruria was to 
have northern Portugal, Godoy (as Prince of Algarve) was 
to have the south, and the centre was to be exchanged for 
Gibraltar, Trinidad, and other colonies which England had 
taken from Spain. The usual ultimatum having been sent 
and rejected, the war began for what seemed a brilliant 
objective for Spam, if Napoleon had had any intention of 
his keeping his word. 

The campaign of 1807 resulted in a rapid, almost bloodless 
conquest of Portugal by the French general Junot, placing 
Napoleon in a position to fulfil his treaty obligations. Nothing 
was further from his plans, however, and, indeed, Godoy and 
the king had recently had cause to suspect his sincerity; 
action had been taken against Ferdinand and his party, 
resulting in the exposure of the prince s correspondence with 
Napoleon. Napoleon occupied Etruria, and gave the 
queen of that country to understand that she need not 
look for compensation in Portugal. Godoy, meanwhile, re 
mained without Algarve, although hoping against hope that 
he might yet get it. All this time, French troops were 
pouring into Spain, and through deceit were possessing 
themselves of the Spanish strongholds in the north. To the 

of Napo 
leon and 
the abdi 
cation of 



of Napo 
leon and 
the jour 
neys of 
YII and 
Charles IV 

credit of Godoy it must be said that he divined the emperor s 
intentions, and favored a demand for the withdrawal of the 
French troops, with the alternative of war. Charles IV 
and his other leading advisers were opposed to this idea ; the 
king was frightened at the very thought of fighting Napoleon. 
The emperor now began to unmask himself. The Spanish 
ambassador to France returned to Madrid as the bearer of a 
message from Napoleon, asking for the cession of certain 
Spanish provinces in the north as far as the Ebro, or else for 
the recognition of the emperor s title to Portugal, together 
with a military road thereto across Spanish territory; the 
ambassador added that he believed Napoleon intended to 
possess himself of the northern provinces and perhaps of all 
Spain, though possibly not until the death of Charles IV. 
It was now perfectly clear to Godoy and the king what 
Napoleon meant to do, but the party of Ferdinand, unaware 
of all the facts, was wedded blindly to the emperor, believing 
that his sole desire was to get rid of Godoy and assure the 
succession of Ferdinand. Charles, Godoy, and the queen 
thought of escaping to the x\mericas, and as a preliminary 
step moved the court from Madrid to Aranjuez. A riot 
followed at Aranjuez in which Godoy was captured by the 
followers of Ferdinand, and was with difficulty saved from 
death. Realizing that the army and the people were almost 
wholly on the side of Ferdinand, and unable to see any way 
out of his difficulties, Charles IV decided to abdicate, and 
accordingly on March 19, 1808, did so. All Spain rejoiced, 
for Godoy had fallen, and the idolized prince had now 
ascended the throne as Ferdinand VII. 

Napoleon was much displeased at the course of events in 
Spain. The flight of Charles would have fitted in with his 
plans, whereas the accession of Ferdinand placed him under 
the necessity of exposing his hand. Temporarily he saved 
the situation by one of the most remarkable exhibitions of 
successful duplicity in history. On March 23 General Murat 
entered Madrid with a French army, and the next day 
Ferdinand made his royal entry, and was received by the 
people with delirious joy. The foreign diplomats at once 
recognized him as king, except the French ambassador. 

CHARLES IV AND FRANCE, 1788-1808 409 

Uncertain yet what to do, Napoleon was on the one hand 
giving indications of an intention to restore Charles IV, and 
on the other planning to set up one of his own brothers as 
king of Spain. Charles IV gave the emperor the opening he 
desired. In order to obtain some material advantages from 
his abdication and to save Godoy, who was still in prison, he 
entered into communication with Murat, and as a result 
secretly retracted his abdication, placing himself entirely 
in the hands of Napoleon. Meanwhile, Murat told Ferdi 
nand that the emperor was coming to see him, and suggested 
that Ferdinand should go to Burgos to meet him. When 
Ferdinand decided against the journey, lest it produce a bad 
effect in the minds of the people, Napoleon sent General 
Savary with orders to bring Ferdinand whether he wanted to 
come or not. Savary succeeded in persuading the young 
prince to go to Burgos, and when Napoleon was not found 
there to Vitoria. Beyond this point Ferdinand was at first 
not disposed to go, but, urged on both by Savary and 
Escoiquiz, who still believed in the French emperor, the 
party proceeded across the boundary line to Bayonne. There 
indeed they found Napoleon, and Ferdinand was informed 
that he must abdicate the throne. A few days later, on 
April 30, Charles IV, Maria Luisa, and Godoy arrived ; they 
had been easily persuaded to go there by Murat. The 
reunion of the royal family at Bayonne was accompanied 
by disgraceful quarrels of the parents and the son and by 
the humiliating weakness of all in the presence of Napoleon. 
Charles IV was again induced to abdicate, and was given a 
rich pension and estates in France to which he and his family, 
Godoy, and the royal servants might repair. Ferdinand 
was also granted rents and lands. To Napoleon was given 
the right to name a king of Spain. 

Meanwhile, the French troops in Madrid and elsewhere Uprising 
had been conducting themselves like conquerors, and had of tiie 
aroused considerable hostility in the people, who were not so 
easily deceived and dominated as their rulers had been. After 
the departure of Ferdinand from Madrid the French officers 
did not hesitate to say that Napoleon would not recognize 
him, which only increased the popular discontent. The 


climax came when an order was received from Napoleon for 
the young Bourbon prince, Francisco de Paula, and for the 
queen of Etruria with her children to be sent to France. The 
departure from Madrid was set for the morning of the second 
of May. A crowd gathered to see the royal party off, and 
heard rumors which excited it to a feeling of frenzy, for 
example, that the young Francisco (then only thirteen) had 
protested in tears against going. Insults were offered the 
French soldiery, and the harness of the coaches was cut. 
These scenes were interrupted by the appearance of a French 
battalion, which fired without warning into the crowd. The 
crowd scattered, and spread the news over the city. This 
was the signal for a general uprising against the French. 
The Spanish troops were under strict orders from the govern 
ment to stay in barracks, but a number of them declined to 
obey. Prominent among those joining the people against 
the French were Captains Pedro Velarde and Luis Daoiz, the 
heroes of the day. When the people were driven out of the 
central square of the city, the Plaza del Sol, by the French 
artillery, Velarde hastened to the battery commanded by 
Daoiz. Convincing the latter that the interests of the 
country were superior to discipline he joined with him and 
a certain Lieutenant Ruiz in directing the fire against the 
French troops. Superior in numbers and armament, the 
French were successful after a battle lasting three hours in 
which Velarde and Daoiz were killed. The dramatic events 
of the Dos de Mayo, or the second of May, were the prelude 
to a national uprising against the French. Without a king 
or a government Spain began the war which was to usher in 
a new era in Spanish history, for, just as Americans look 
back to the Fourth of July in 1776, so the Spaniards consider 
the Dos de Mayo of 1808 as the beginning of modern Spain. 



FUNDAMENTALLY, there was no change In the classes of Social 
Spanish society in this period as regards their legal and social character- 
standing, except in the case of the rural population of Aragon. i! ? tics of 
One of the characteristic notes of the era was a certain demo- e era " 
cratic sentiment of a philanthropic kind, exhibiting itself 
vaguely in a desire for the well-being of mankind, and prac 
tically in the social, economic, and intellectual betterment 
of the masses, without any attempt being made to improve 
their juridical position. This ideal, which was not confined 
to Spain, became more and more widespread with the in 
crease in influence of the French encyclopedists, and got to 
be a fad of high society, being encouraged by the kings 
themselves. Many of its manifestations will be taken up 
later in dealing with economic institutions, but the senti 
mental discussion of the ideal may be remarked upon here ; 
this at length went so far as to result in the formulation of 
political doctrines of a democratic character, but they were 
not yet translated into law. Such social reforms as were 
made came for the most part in the last three reigns of 
the era, especially in that of Charles III. 

The description of the nobility in the period of the House Pride, 
of Austria might almost be repeated for this era. The nobles wealth, 
had long since lost their political power, but the wealth ? d e ^~ 
of the grandees and the privileges and the prestige of all t hf nobles, 
ranks of the nobility were so great that this class was a more 
important factor in Spanish life than it is today. Pride of 
noble rank continued to be almost an obsession, despite the 
attempts to check it ; with a view to diminishing petitions 
for the recognition of rights of hidalguia, a law was passed 



in 1758 calling for the payment of a large sum of money 
when the petitioner s title dated back to the fourth or fifth 
grandfather. On the other hand, the kings were respon 
sible for acts which tended to encourage the eagerness for 
noble rank. Ferdinand VI officially recognized that the 
people of Vizcaya were all of hidalgo rank; Charles III 
created the order which bears his name, and Charles IV 
founded that of the "noble ladies of Maria Luisa" ; various 
societies of nobles for equestrian exercises, in imitation of 
the military orders, were formed, and they were given cer 
tain privileges in criminal jurisdiction. To be sure, the 
grant of these honors was a source of revenue to the state. 
The recognition of the privileged character of the nobles 
was manifest, even in the case of the more degraded members 
of that class; a law of 1781 provided that nobles who were 
arrested as vagabonds should be sent to the army with the 
rank of "distinguished soldiers." The grandees and the 
other nobles possessed of seigniorial estates still controlled 
the appointment of many municipal functionaries; in 1787 
there were 17 cities, 2358 villas, and 1818 aldeas and pueblos 
in seigniorial hands, in some of which the king shared juris 
diction with the lords. Similarly, the military orders had 
the right to appoint the clergymen of 3 cities, 402 villas, 
119 pueblos, and 261 aldeas. Many monopolies of a medieval 
type still survived in favor of the lords, such as those of 
hunting, fishing, the baking of bread, the making of flour, 
and the use of streams and forests, and in some cases the 
lord s vassals were subject to medieval tributes and services. 
Real de- It is rather by comparison with matters as they are today, 
eline of however, that these incidents loom large ; they were but the 
^ survivals of a system which was already dead. The worst 

of these seigniorial rights, the Aragonese lord s power of life 
and death over his villeins, was abolished by Philip V. The 
kings did not dare to suppress all of the seigniorial privileges, 
but took steps to overcome them, as by submitting the rights 
of certain lords to rigorous proofs, by hindering sales of 
jurisdiction, by subjecting the appointments of the lords to 
the approval of the Camara, by naming special royal officials 
for the various seigniorial holdings, and in general by f acili- 


tating the reincorporation in the crown of such estates. By 
this time the lesser nobility enjoyed few exemptions of a 
financial character, but the great nobles still possessed such 
privileges. The kings employed indirect methods to cause 
them to submit to taxation. Thus payments were demanded 
in lieu of military service, and the media anata (half annates) 
was required for the recognition of the title of a successor 
to landed estates ; certainly the immensely wealthy grandees 
were able to pay these tributes without serious economic 
loss to themselves. Furthermore, the great nobles continued 
to be a court nobility, and were jealously proud of the special 
privileges of an empty character which marked them off 
from the classes below them. For example, a grandee had 
the right to keep his hat on and to sit down in the presence 
of the king; to be called "cousin" by the king; to have a 
private guard; to preside over the sessions of the noble 
branch of the Cortes; to be visited and saluted by ayuntar 
mientos, viceroys, and other authorities; to have a better 
place than others, both indoors and out ; and to be free from 
imprisonment except by a special decree of the king. 

There was no essential change in the composition and Slight 
character of the middle classes in this era. The working gains of 
classes of the cities attained to a little more liberty than ^ york- 
f ormerly, as a result of the decline of the guilds, while those g c 
of the country, if they had improved their juridical position, 
continued nevertheless in a state of misery and poverty. 
The rural wars of past reigns were missing, however. The 
evil lot of the rural classes was due more to the backward 
ness of agriculture, the vast extent of unworked lands com 
mon, and the widespread practice of entailing estates, than 
to bonds of a social character. An interesting attempt, at 
once to raise the urban laborer, and to break down the sharp 
dividing line between the nobility and the plebeian classes, 
was a law of 1783, which declared that the trades of artisans 
such as those of the carpenter, tailor, and shoemaker were 
to be considered honorable, and since municipal offices were 
usually in the hands of the hidalgo class it was also enacted 
that the practice of these trades did not incapacitate a man 
from holding positions in the local government or even from 



lent legis 
ants of 
Jews, and 

becoming an hidalgo. This well-meant law was not able to 
overcome social prejudices, however, and when an endeavor 
was made to interpret it in the sense that it authorized 
the entry of artisans into the military orders, which had 
always been composed only of nobles, it was decreed in 1803 
that it had never been intended to raise them to that degree, 
for the military orders were founded on the necessity of 
maintaining the lustre of the nobility. 

A spirit of racial tolerance for the despised classes made 
its appearance in this era. Laws placing prohibitions on 
the gypsies were repeatedly enacted until the time of 
Charles III, but in 1783 that monarch declared that the gyp 
sies were not to be considered a tainted race, and ordered 
that they be admitted to the towns and to occupations on 
the same basis as other Spaniards, provided they would 
abandon their dress, language, and special customs. Simi 
larly, in 1782 Charles III endeavored to free the descendants 
of Jews from the stigma of their ancestry by enacting that 
they should not be obliged to live in a separate quarter or 
wear any device indicative of their origin. A law of 1785 
permitted them to serve in the army or navy, a right 
which had previously been denied them. These generous 
laws for the gypsies and the descendants of Jews were as 
little capable as those just mentioned concerning artisans 
of overcoming social prejudices, wherefore they failed of 
their objects. In matters of religion the laws affecting the 
despised classes were more in keeping with general senti 
ment. In 1712 it was ordered that Moslem slaves who had 
been set free must leave the country; in 1802 the prohi 
bition against Jews returning to the peninsula was reaffirmed 
as absolute in the case of those who retained the Jewish faith. 
Slavery continued to be legal, but laws were passed that 
slaves escaping to Spain from other lands, except from the 
Spanish colonies, became ipso facto free. The treaty of 
1779 with Morocco provided that prisoners of war should 
not henceforth be enslaved. The institution of slavery 
existed on a great scale in the Americas, though Charles III 
alleviated the rigors of the situation by his beneficent 

SPANISH SOCIETY, 1700-1808 415 

Legislation affecting the family aimed to tighten the bonds Tighten- 
between parents and children, which had become loosened i*ig of th 
as a result of the increasing spirit of individualism. Thus J )0n ^ s ^ 
a law of 1766 ordered that the prior consent of parents amiy * 
should be obtained before children could marry, although 
a remedy was provided for an unreasonable withholding 
of consent ; in the preamble it w r as stated that the law was 
due to the frequent occurrence of " unequal marriages/ 
Several later laws upheld the same principle. Legislation Influence 
concerning property was characterized by the ideas of the of the 
physiocratic school of thinkers, who referred all social and Pkysio- 
economic problems to the land as the fundamental basis, ^j^i on 
Among the Spanish physiocrats (for the physiocratic ideal legislation 
was widespread in western Europe) were Campomanes, affecting 
Floridablanca, and Jovellanos, who were among the greatest property. 
of Spanish reformers in the reign of Charles III and the early 
years of Charles IV. In keeping with physiocratic views 
the laws tended to the release of realty from incumbrances 
and to the distribution of lands among many persons. The 
practice of entailing estates in primogeniture was one of the 
institutions attacked by the physiocrats. It was admitted 
that it was necessary in the case of the great nobles, in order 
to maintain the prestige of the family name, but it was held 
to be desirable to check the extension of the institution in 
other cases and to facilitate the extinction of entails. Thus 
a law of 1749 permitted of the sale of entailed estates for an 
annuity in the case of financially ruined houses; a law of 
1789 prohibited the founding of new entails, and facilitated 
the sale of realty already so held; a law of 1795 imposed 
heavy taxes on existing entails ; and a law of 1798 authorized 
the sale of entailed estates, provided the funds should be 
invested in a certain loan announced at that tune. Still 
other law r s were passed in this period, with the result that 
many entails disappeared and others were diminished in size. 
The nobles resisted the change, and the greater number of 
the entails remained in existence, although reduced in in 
come. In the same way municipal and ecclesiastical holdings 
were attacked. In the case of the former (propios), laws 
were passed repeatedly for example in 1761, 1766, 1767, 



1768, and especially in 1770 for the partition of the culti 
vable and pastoral lands and for their assignment to a num 
ber of individuals. Nevertheless, the majority of this type 
of municipal lands continued in the possession of the towns, 
for the laws were not fully executed. As concerns lands 
utilized for the promotion of religious objects, pious founda 
tions were attacked, and either compelled or else permitted 
to sell their real property, but there was considerable hesi 
tancy about applying the same practice to lands held in 
mortmain by the regular and secular clergy, although the 
prevailing opinion of jurisconsults was opposed to these 
holdings. Some steps were taken, however, to free these 
lands, as well as other measures to hinder the giving of 
realty in mortmain. In the various colonization schemes 
of the century it was customary to forbid the transfer 
of lands to ecclesiastical institutions. A law of 1763 pro 
hibited further conveyances to the church, and a law of 1798 
called for the alienation of lands owned by charitable insti 
tutions, even though they might belong to the church, and 
some estates accordingly were sold. The resistance of the 
clergy, together with a certain repugnance to laying hands 
on the property of the church except in case of extreme 
necessity, operated to prevent these laws from having their 
Triumphs full effect. It will be noticed that all of these measures 
of Roman were mar k e dly individualistic, in accord with Roman prin- 
pnncip es. c jpj es as O pp OSec [ to those of medieval society, and favorable 
to the change in ownership of landed estates and to their 
division into small holdings. This spirit was manifested 
even more insistently in attacking titles of a medieval char 
acter. Thus the right of farmers to fence lands for their 
own use was sustained, serving as a check upon the abuses 
of the Mesta, and the various methods of tribute from vassals 
to a lord (censos, foros, etc.) were the subject of legislation 
tending to relieve the former from their burdens. To this 
epoch, also, belong laws requiring the registry of titles to 
land. Nevertheless, the spirit of collectivism was still alive, 
as expressed in doctrines favoring the condemnation of in 
dividual property and the establishment of communal 
indosures with the drawing of lots for land, but the 

SPANISH SOCIETY, 1700-1808 417 

followers of Roman principles were victorious in the 

The spirit of individualism appeared, also, to give a death- Decline 
blow to the guilds, even though they actually increased in and fall of 
number; there were ninety guilds in Barcelona at the close tiie ? uil(is - 
of the eighteenth century. Among the factors contributing 
to the decline were the following: the continuance of the 
exclusive spirit of the past, making entry into the guild a 
difficult matter ; the accentuation of social differences within 
the guilds, such that certain elements had special privileges 
based on rank in the guild, for example, a right that their 
sons might enter the institution without serving as appren 
tices; the failure of the guilds to observe their own ordi 
nances ; the frequency of lawsuits between guilds, or even 
between a guild and its own members ; and especially the 
continued intervention of the state, taking over the former 
municipal control of the guilds and unifying the ordinances 
of each trade throughout the country. The relation of the 
state to the guilds facilitated the application of the new 
economic ideas which were favorable to the freedom of labor 
and hostile to the guilds. Thus in 1772 foreign artisans 
were permitted to establish themselves, without paying a 
special tax and without having to undergo examinations; 
in 1782 a general law introduced reforms facilitating appren 
ticeship, freeing applicants for entry into a guild from the 
necessity of proving the Christian faith of their ancestry 
(limpieza de sangre) y permitting of the sale of masterships, 
and abolishing the distinction between the sons of masters 
and those of the other members ; in another law of the same 
year painters, sculptors, and architects were authorized to 
work independently of guilds ; in 1783 the cofradia$ attached 
to the guilds w r ere suppressed, and their place was taken by 
benefit societies (montepfos) ; in 1784 women were given a 
general permission to engage in any trade they wished ; in 
1790 it was enacted that any artisan of recognized ability 
could work at his trade without the need of an examination ; 
and in 1793 a law dissolving the guilds of the silk manu 
facturers announced that it was neither necessary nor fitting 
that persons should be grouped together hi guilds for carry- 



Dull rou 
tine of 
daily life. 

of the life 
at court 
and among 
the nobles. 

ing on such an industry. From this point it was only a step 
to the death of the institution. The great name in the 
legislation against the guilds was that of Campomanes. 

If the social customs of the two preceding eras may be 
said to have represented the virile youth of the Spanish 
peoples, followed by a seemingly mortal sickness resulting 
from a too great indulgence in "wild oats," this period 
stands for the recovery of the race (just as occurred in other 
aspects of peninsula life) in a conventional, outwardly re 
spectable, and on the whole fairly wholesome, if also some 
what monotonous, middle age. Simplicity, regularity, and 
subordination to principles of authority (as represented by 
king, church, and parents, checking inititative and making 
long-established custom the guiding rule in daily life) were 
the dominating social characteristics. Both in the city and 
in the country, people arose early; the Cause jo de Castillo, 
met at seven in the morning from April to September, and 
at eight from October to March. It was the custom also to 
go to bed early, to perform one s daily tasks in precisely 
the same way each day, to hear mass daily, to have family 
prayers each day, to salute one s parents respectfully on 
the same daily recurring occasions, and to display a like 
respect in the presence of official personages or of clergymen. 
If people now and then indulged in gossip about their neigh 
bors, they gave little thought to persons or events beyond 
their immediate circle ; they were in no hurry to learn the 
news of the world, waiting tranquilly for the arrival of the 
mails, which were usually infrequent and meagre. 

The kings themselves helped to make this monotonous 
type of life fashionable. Philip V was domestically inclined, 
retiring, and melancholy, and from the time of his marriage 
with Isabel Farnesio was nearly always at the side of his 
wife, who even accompanied him when he received his 
ministers before he had arisen from bed. His daily life was 
passed in pious exercises and in hunting, with music to vary 
the monotony. Ferdinand VI, also domestic, retiring, and 
-God-fearing, was very fond of music, with the result that the 
court was brightened by frequent concerts, operas, and the 
atrical representations, on which vast sums of money were 

SPANISH SOCIETY, 1700-1808 419 

expended. Charles III was a man of very simple tastes, an 
enemy of the theatre and of music, but passionately devoted 
to hunting. He was so methodical that every moment of the 
day within the palace was regulated by royal ordinances, and 
the annual journeys and changes of residence of the royal fam 
ily took place each year on the same day. In monotonous 
regularity of life Charles IV resembled his illustrious prede 
cessor, but passion for hunting amounted in his case almost 
to a disease; after having breakfast and hearing mass he 
would hunt until one o clock, and would return to that sport 
after having partaken of dinner. The sameness of court life 
in this period was broken by various receptions and royal feast 
days, but even these were cold and formal, following pre 
scribed courses, although celebrated with great pomp. In 
1804 there were eight greater gala days and seventeen lesser 
ones, besides those arising from unforeseen events, such as 
the reception of a foreign ambassador. Furthermore, royal 
journeys necessarily involved festivities and heavy expense. 
Balls, banquets, and other diversions found no place at court, 
and the accession of Charles III put an end to concerts and 
plays. The ordinary life of the nobles followed that of the 
kings. Comparing it with that of France, a French duke 
who came to Spain in the reign of Philip V said that it was 
tiresome, almost unsociable, and lacking in comforts, despite 
the fact that great sums of money were often spent for enter 
tainments of a formal nature. Toward the close of the cen 
tury the more genial practices of other European countries 
began to percolate into Spain. Godoy was one who took 
pleasure in giving balls. Others followed his example, and 
the austere simplicity of Spanish life began to yield to com 
forts, diversions, and dissipation. Nevertheless, the old 
conventions still ruled, especially in the country districts, 
where the poorer nobility resided, occupying themselves in 
hunting and in local politics and intrigues. The penurious 
nobles of the hidalgo class continued to be found at the capital 
in the train of the greater representatives of the titled element. 

Some clue to the modesty of life in general may be obtained simplicity 
from the cheapness of rents and the scantiness of furniture of do- 
in the houses of the capital The average annual rental 


was 1504 redes (S94), and there were many houses of an in 
ferior type to be had for 45 reales (S2.81) a month, although, 
of course, money values were much greater then than now. 
House decorations and furniture were poor to the point of 
shabbiness. Walls did not begin to be papered until the 
close of the eighteenth century. Usually they were white 
washed and hung with a few pictures of a religious character 
or with brass candlesticks. The floor was of unpolished 
wood, covered over in winter with mats, and there was a 
like simplicity in chairs. Writing-desks were often present, 
but were opened only when visitors were being received. 
Candles were employed for lighting, and the odorous, 
scantly warming brazier was the principal resource against 
cold. The same sobriety manifested itself as regards the 
table. The puchero, or cocido, made up primarily of chick 
peas (garbanzos), was the basis of the meal, and usually was 
the only element. Inns were equally uninviting, and it was 
not until the close of the era that the example of foreign 
countries prevailed upon the Spaniards to introduce some 
what more comfortable hostelries. 1 

Struggle The simplicity and severity of Spanish customs were not 

between maintained in matters of dress. There was a century-long 

lnd*the nCh conflict betw een the French and the native styles, the former 

native 6 represented by the military cut of clothing more in keeping 

styles in with that of the present day, and the latter by the slouched 

dress. hat and long cape, as symbolic of the indigenous modes. 

On grounds of morality and public safety the government 

opposed the native type, which lent itself too easily to the 

facilitation of disguise, and the methodical Charles III 

even considered the imposition of a national dress which 

should omit the traditional features. A law of 1766 ordered 

their abandonment and the adoption of a short cape or 

riding coat and the three-cornered cocked hat. The decree 

was the occasion of riots throughout Spain, and had to be 

recalled, while Squillace, the minister who had proposed it, 

lost his post. Aranda, his successor, achieved the desired 

1 Those who have lived in Spanish boarding-houses (fondas) 
in our own times will recognize that this description lacks very 
little of fitting contemporary Spain. 

SPANISH SOCIETY, 1700-1808 421 

end by indirect methods. He caused the slouched hat to 
be made the official head-piece of the hangman, wherefore 
it began to lose prestige, and the French styles were soon 
decisively victorious. It is to be noted, however, that the 
three-cornered cocked hat and other French styles of the 
Bourbon era were retained in Spain after they were no longer 
in fashion in republican and imperial France. Women s 
dress was also reformed in a similar direction. Three out 
standing features characterized the well-dressed woman: 
the skirt of silk or velvet ; the mantilla, or veil, worn over 
the head instead of a hat; and the fan. Fans of a most 
luxurious type w r ere used, with ribs of shell, mother-of-pearl, 
or ivory, and with ornaments of gold, while the principal 
part was hand-painted, often by artists of note, to represent 
scenes of a mythological, pastoral, or historical character. 
Even among the common people, especially among the 
so-called majos, or low-class dandies (both male and female) 
of Madrid, there were special types of elegant dress. Ladies 
dress-combs of unusual size, not infrequently half a foot or 
more in height above the hair, may be mentioned as one 
phase of the majo styles, which stood for a reaction against 
French modes, though with scant knowledge or regard for 
ancient Spanish customs. Majismo, both in dress and in 
customs, invaded the aristocracy, and has been immortalized 
in some of the paintings of Goya. The common people of 
the country were much more conservative in maintaining 
the earlier styles of dress, which have survived to the present 
day, although the uniformity of modern life has tended to 
make them peculiarities, rather than the prevailing modes 
of the different regions in which they are found. 

The monotony of Spanish life did not prevent Spaniards Fondness 
from being fond of diversions. On the contrary they of the 
seemed to welcome a chance to escape from the narrow 1^^ 
course of their humdrum existence. Public feast-days were pT1 ^ii c f or 
numerous and very popular; events in Christian history diversion 
were the occasion of most of them. People generally, and sport, 
unlike the monarchs, the nobles, and their imitators among 
the wealthy bourgeoisie, were very fond of dancing, the 
theatre, and bull-fighting. Dances to the accompaniment 


of the guitar were held on every possible occasion; on 
Sundays they took place in the public square of the city. 
The days of the waltz, onestep, and other dances now in 
vogue in many lands (though not in Spain) had not yet come ; 
rather, the dances were very largely national or regional, 
such as the seguidillas or boleros, the fandango, guaracha, 
zorongo, arlequin, chacona, zarabanda, the Aragonese jota, 
the Valencian dansetes, and the Catalonian sardana, all of 
which gave great play to the individual and represented 
harmonious action of the entire body. Many of these 
dances, or their derivatives, survive in Spain today. Pro 
fessional dancing girls were popular favorites and not 
infrequently the mistresses of the great gentlemen of the 
court. Charles III detested dancing, but neither he nor his 
successor could check it, though they did regulate it to some 
extent. In like manner the theatre continued to be a 
national passion, despite the disapproval of certain great 
churchmen as well as of Charles III. Three great theatres 
were built in Madrid in the reign of Philip V. Govern 
mental regulations were as unavailing in this as in the case 
of dancing. The popularity of bull-fighting got to be greater 
than ever, though Philip V and Charles III disliked the sport. 
Ferdinand VI was a devotee, and Charles IV was not un 
friendly. The repugnance felt by Philip V had the effect 
of causing the withdrawal of the nobles from taking part 
In the contests, with the result that a professional class of 
bull-fighters developed. Charles III went so far as to pro 
hibit the sport in 1785, but Charles IV, in 1789, consented 
to its return. Godoy, however, was opposed to bull-fighting, 
and procured its abolition in 1805. The period from 1789 
to 1805 is a famous one in the history of this game. Just 
as happens today, so then, the names of the favorite bull 
fighters were on everybody s lips. This was a period when 
many of the feats of the bull-fighters which still form a part 
of the contest were invented. Possibly the most widely 
known name was that of Pepe Illo, or Hillo (great bull 
fighter and writer of a treatise on the so-called art of bull 
fighting), who was killed in the bull-ring at Madrid in 1801, 
an event which Goya reduced to canvas in one of his most 

SPANISH SOCIETY, 1700-1808 423 

famous paintings. Madrid, Aranjuez, Granada, and Seville 
were the only cities which had bull-rings (plazas de faros), 
but fights were held in all parts of Spain by utilizing the 
principal square of the city. Certain athletic exercises 
were very popular, among which the Basque game of ball, 
still played in Spain, is especially worthy of mention. 1 
Performances of professional acrobats, jugglers, and magi 
cians were frequent, as well as the playing of pantomimes. 

The policing of cities for the first time became worthy Marked 
of commendation. At the opening of the eighteenth cen- advance in 
tirry Madrid was ugly, extremely dirty, without architec- t ^ e . < j are 
tural monuments, driveways, or promenades, and lacked a 16S " 
good water system. The great reforms of Aranda under 
Charles III and of Godoy in the next reign transformed the 
city, resulting in the opening of new streets, the organization 
of an efficient street-cleaning system (despite opposition on 
the ancient ground that the filthiness of the streets was a 
preventive of epidemics), the completion of the work of 
paving begun in the previous era, the development of a good 
water supply, the inauguration of a lighting system, the 
building of noteworthy edifices, the bettering of old prome 
nades (paseos) and the opening of new ones, and the issue 
of numerous ordinances intended to preserve the good order 
and public health of the city. It was at this time, too, that 
the institution of the sereno (night-watchman in Spanish 
streets) was introduced from abroad ; contrary to the usual 
opinion the sereno is not Spanish in origin, but of foreign 
importation. The walk, or drive, along the great paseos , 
just at evening before nightfall, became more popular among 
all classes than ever, and has remained a Spanish custom 
to the present day. Barcelona, Seville, and Cddiz were 
also much improved. 

But the dances, masked balls, the theatre, evening parties, Continn- 
and promenades furnished occasion for vicious practices, anceof 
Immorality was not so brazen and unashamed as formerly, but ~ se pr ?^ 
was very nearly as prevalent. In vain were laws passed with ^^ 
a view to checking the evil. The lax practices continued, habits, 
and received a kind of sanction during the reign of Charles IV 
1 See note at page 196. 


from the example set by the queen, of which everybody 
except the king seemed well aware. Gambling was also the 
subject of restrictive legislation which failed of its design. 
In this respect the state was morally estopped from making 
complaint, because it was in this period that the national 
government lottery was founded. This institution, which 
still exists, was established, strange to say, by Charles III, 
in 1763, following the example of the court of Rome. Gam 
bling, and especially the lottery, soon became the passion it 
has ever since remained. Smoking had long before gotten 
to be general among the lower classes, particularly among 
the already mentioned map element ; but the aristocracy 
and the bourgeoisie had been little inclined to the habit. 
They were soon to surrender to the influence of majismo, 
however, with the result that Spaniards and their Hispanic 
kinsfolk have come to be enumerated among the most in 
veterate smokers in the world, so far as the men are con 
cerned. Drunkenness was not a very prevalent vice, any 
more than it is today, although the same could not be said 
with respect to the Spanish colonies. 

Influence It only remains to add that these social practices were to 

&f Spanish be found in much the same form in the Americas. Fondness 

cus ^ ms for showy feast-days was even greater there, and it is also 

Americas. * ^ e no ^d that the improvements in Spanish cities had 

their counterpart in the embellishment of several of those 




THE Bourbon kings aimed to complete the long evolution, Over- 
dating from centuries before, toward the personal authority whelming 
of the monarch in a pure absolutism. This movement had ^ CC ,? S f 
gone farther in other countries, although the current had tist ideal. * 
set the other way in England. France under Louis XIV, 
if not the most extreme example of an absolute government, 
was certainly the most influential, and the phrase "I am 
the state!" attributed to the great French monarch, was 
(whether in fact uttered by him or not) symbolic of his ideal. 
It was in the atmosphere of the court of Versailles that 
Philip V spent his youth, wherefore it was the most natural 
thing in the world for him to desire the establishment in 
Spain of a system which he had always been accustomed to 
believe was the only true method of rule. Even had Philip 
ever doubted it, Louis XIV took care to inculcate in him the 
concept of absolutism. Philip showed on various occasions that 
he understood the French ideal of kingship, as in his oppo 
sition to the calling of the Castilian Cortes, his denial of the 
right of the Cvnsejoto share in certain governmental functions, 
and his habitual employment of such phrases as "for such 
is my wilP in royal decrees. The same criterion was fol 
lowed by his successors. Charles IV ordered certain laws 
which were inconsistent with the absolutist ideal to be 
stricken out of the Novisima Recopilaci6n, or Latest Compila 
tion of the Laws (1805), before he would allow that code to 
be published, stating that those acts (which had been in 
corporated in the Nueva Recopilacidn of 1567) were repre 
sentative of a time when the weakness of the monarchy had 
compelled the kings to make concessions which were in 
consistent with their sovereign authority. The laws referred 





to concerned the intervention of the Consejo in royal dona 
tions, the obligation of the king to consult with the three 
estates of the Cortes in dealing with momentous affairs, 
and the injunction that no new taxes should be levied with 
out the grant of a Cortes. In the statement of their ideal 
the kings met with little opposition, for this view was gen 
erally supported by all classes of society. Men who were 
liberal reformers in other ways were rigid in their main 
tenance of the principle of absolutism, and the people 
themselves, not only Castilians, but others as well, even 
including the Catalans, were intensely royalist. 

Nevertheless, the Bourbons were more democratic in their 
manner than the less autocratic kings of the House of Austria. 
^ * s sa ^ t * lat Philip V was the first to inaugurate the prac- 
n * s higher government officials to be seated 


rule of the while talking business with him, whereas the Hapsburg 
Bourbons, custom had been to require them to remain on their knees. 
The kings advisers now became veritable ministers, with a 
more frank participation in government than had been the 
case with the secretaries and favorites of the preceding era. 
Furthermore, the Bourbons represented the "enlightened 
despotism," which had so many remarkable manifestations 
in eighteenth century western Europe. In keeping with 
this ideal the kings showed marked interest in social, eco 
nomic, and intellectual reforms of a philanthropic character, 
without yielding an iota of their political prerogative. A 
great revolution took place, having a fundamental ground 
work of democracy in it (which was to find expression at a 
later time in the field of politics), but which was accomplished 
wholly from above. The idea might have been expressed : 
"Everything for the people, but nothing by them." The 
only exception to this rule was the royal program whereby the 
popular element gained an entrance to the ayuntamientos, 
or municipal governing bodies. 

Naturally, all machinery of a democratic character was 
viewed with suspicion, and such was the case with the Cortes. 
Only at the accession of Luis I was a Cortes called to swear 
in tie new king, although that body was several times asked 
to acknowledge the princes of Astarias. The Cortes of 


Castile was summoned four times by Philip V and once each Unhn- 
by Charles III and Charles IV, but in two of the meetings portance 
under Philip not all of the elements were called, and in the f t : ie , 
dismissal of the Cortes of Charles IV it was made apparent t ^ e SU p_ 
that the nobles and clergy had no necessary inclusion in that pression 
body. Furthermore, the Caries was called to perform some of demo- 
specific act, such as the recognition of the princes above- c f^ tlc naa 
named, the making and later the revocation of the so-called er3 " 
Salic law, and the approval of Philip s renunciation of his 
rights to the French throne, after which it was dismissed, 
without having an opportunity to discuss other matters. 
When the Cortes of 1789 was retained in session to treat of 
certain economic questions, some of the deputies formulated 
petitions concerning affairs of government, whereupon 
the authorities hastened to bring the sittings to a close. 
The Cortes of other regions were equally lacking in impor 
tance. The Cortes of Aragon met once, and that of Valencia 
not at all ; both were incorporated into the Castilian Cortes 
in 1709. The Cortes of Catalonia met twice, but after 1724 
it followed the course already taken in the case of Aragon 
and Valencia, and the same was true of the representatives 
from Majorca. The Cortes of Navarre continued to meet 
separately, being called eleven times, but it took no action 
of conspicuous importance. Nevertheless, the memory of 
the former power of the Cortes was not dead, and many 
persons saw in its restoration, possibly with new functions, 
a means for the reform of the country. In addition to having 
rendered the Cortes completely innocuous the kings took 
other steps to check popular intervention in national affairs. 
It had been the custom for the municipalities to send special 
commissioners to the capital to negotiate for them with the 
crown. This practice (which reminds one of the colonial 
agent of American history) was forbidden by a law of 1715 
(repeated in 1S04), on the alleged ground of avoiding un 
necessary expense to the towns. A law of 1777 allowed the 
sending "of special agents, however, for one purpose, 
that of witnessing the births of royal children ! Thus did 
the kings contribute both to the security and to the glamour 
of royalty. 



to the 

the ency- 

If the Spanish kings were so careful to avoid any diminu- 
their authority through the restoration of the former 
powers of the Cortes, it may well be imagined that they were 
alarmed over the political ideas of the French encyclopedists 
of the later eighteenth century and still more so over those 
of the French revolutionaries after 1789. The works of 
suc ] 1 p renc h writers as Diderot, Voltaire, Rousseau, Montes- 
<l u i eu > an( ^ Mirabeau, or of the Englishmen Hobbes, Locke, 
Hume, and others were in many libraries of Spain, and some 
of them were translated. The Encyclopedia itself found its 
way into the peninsula. High Spanish officials, like Aranda, 
maintained correspondence with some of the French re 
formers, as did also some of the great Spanish nobles, 
for example, the Duke of Alba with Rousseau, and the Mar 
quis of Miranda with Voltaire. It was the fashion, too, for 
Spaniards to get part of their education in France, or for 
French professors, French laborers, and, later, French revo 
lutionary propagandists to cross the Pyrenees. Thus the 
new ideas gained a footing in Spain, where they were taken 
up at educational institutions, especially at the University 
of Salamanca, and by some newspapers (for that type of 
periodical had begun to appear), although expressions were 
naturally somewhat guarded. With the outbreak of the 
French Revolution, Floridablanca sent troops to the northern 
frontier to prevent the entry of political agitators. The 
Inquisition issued edicts against the introduction of pro 
hibited books, and published a new index in 1790, followed 
by a supplement in 1805, for the rationalist ideas of the 
French reformers were not in accord with those of the church. 
The civil authorities took similar action ; the Encyclopedia 
was barred in 1784, and many other works at other times; 
in 1792 officials were placed at customs-houses to examine 
all writings, whether printed or manuscript; and in 1805 
a tribunal of printing (Juzgado de Imprenta) was created, 
independent of the Consejo and the Inquisition. These 
measures failed to prevent the dissemination of French 
literature and thought, but were successful in checking 
any effective expression of democratic or republican ideals 
during this period. While men of influence approved the 


philanthropic side of the new ideas, very few of them ac 
cepted their political tenets. It was quite the usual thing 
for men to say that the contract between monarch and people 
was equally binding on both, or to express admiration for 
the freedom of thought permitted in England, while they 
opposed the forming of deliberative assemblies in Spain, 
and stood solidly behind the principle of absolutism. Some 
of the younger men went completely over to revolutionary 
ideas, and in 1795 some republican clubs were discovered, 
while many of the inhabitants of Guipuzcoa gave substantial 
aid to the French army of invasion in 1794. The reaction 
came quickly, as a result of the tyrannical conduct of the 
French military authorities. Thus the spirit of democracy 
in Spain seemed crushed, but it was not in fact destroyed, 
as w^as amply proved a few years later in the radical out 
burst of the Cortes of Cadiz. 

Side by side with the development of absolutism there Pro- 
had been an effort on the part of the kings for many cen- nounced 
turies to promote the centralization of political and adminis- fi c e ^ 
trative authority in the state as represented by the crown, tendencies 
and to bring about uniformity in the law. These tendencies toward a 
were accelerated by the Bourbons, whose first opportunity centralized 
came as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession, when state 
Philip V was opposed by many of the non-Castilian parts 
of Spain. In 1707 the special statutes and privileges of 
Aragon and Valencia were abolished and their place taken 
by the laws and practices of Castile. In both regions a 
royally appointed audiencia and captain-general were set up. 
This action was not taken for Catalonia until 1716. In 
that year it was provided by the so-called decree of the 
"new" plan" (Nueca Plantd) that the laws and customs of 
Castile were to apply in Catalonia ; that the Catalan lan 
guage was not to be used in the administration of justice ; 
that an aiidienda and captain-general of royal selection 
were to serve as the principal governmental agencies of the 
region; that Catalonia was to be divided into twelve dis 
tricts, over which corregidores named by the king should 
rule; and that the twenty-four regidores (councilmen) of 
the ayuntamiento of Barcelona, which city had been deprived 


of its former type of government, should also be royally 
appointed. The decree of 1716 did not attempt to establish 
complete unification with Castile, however. Many former 
Catalan rights continued to exist until the nineteenth cen 
tury, such, for example, as the Catalan system of criminal 
law and the issue of Catalan coins. Furthermore, there 
was no appeal from the decisions of the audiencia to the 
central government, an exceptional case. Nevertheless, 
the principles of centralization and unification had been in 
the main attained, and later measures tended to secure 
these ends still more completely. Philip s opponents in 
the War of the Spanish Succession were persecuted, and the 
royal ideas were furthered by the acts of the influential 
partisans of the king; in 1717 the bishop of Gerona, Ta- 
verner, summoned a provincial council with a view to 
" threatening with the wrath of God and the excommunica 
tion of the church" whoever should be unfaithful to Philip V 
and to ordering confessors to treat such infidelity as a sin. 
In Majorca the king placed an audiencia and a commandant- 
general, appointing also the local councillors of Palma and 
Alcudia, while the audiencia named those of the other towns. 
The special privileges of the Basque provinces were re 
spected in theory, but, without apparent change in the laws, 
the central government gradually obtained control through 
the inspection or the intervention of ministers of state and 
the Consejos. Much the same course was followed with 
Navarre, in which the former agencies of government were 
left apparently undisturbed. The policy of centralization 
was also manifested in other respects than those of a purely 
regional application. Thus exemptions from military ser 
vice were limited ; the reversion of seigniorial rights to the 
king was facilitated ; and, in fine, the tendency was to re 
duce all forms of jurisdiction, territorial or otherwise, to 
the king or his representatives in the central administration. 
Many regions continued to have at least the vestiges of 
their former institutions, but enough was done so that the 
Spanish kingdom may fairly be said to have become unitary 
for the first time in history. 

The most notable change in the machinery of government 


concerned the development of the secretariats. There got Changes 
to be five of them, corresponding to the more important of in admin- 
the Consejos under the Consejo de Castilla, as follows : state ^f ne 
(Estado) ; grace and justice (Gratia y Jmticia) ; war and c hi ne ry, 
finance (Guerra y Hacienda) ; navy (Marina) ; and the 
Indies (Indian). There were variations from this arrange 
ment at different times ; for example, the navy and the Indies 
were often a single secretariat in the first half century of 
the era. Gradually it became the custom to call the secre 
taries ministers, and these officials began to absorb the 
powers formerly confided to the Consejos, presaging the 
disappearance of the latter and the development of modern 
ministries. As already pointed out, they also acquired a 
greater liberty and initiative in the performance of their 
duties, especially in the reigns of Ferdinand VI and 
Charles III. It was customary for them to consult with 
the king every morning, however. No new Comejos, or 
councils, were added hi this period, and the Consejo de 
Aragdn, last of the councils of the former crown of Aragon, 
was suppressed in 1707. Essentially, the Consejos continued 
to exercise the same functions as formerly, although losing 
ground to the rapidly advancing secretaries, or ministers. 
The Consejo de Castilla retained its importance, however, 
and its president, or governor, was the leading officer of 
state. It is to be noted that both the Consejo and the 
Cdmara, despite their retention of the name Castile, dealt 
with the affairs of other regions of the peninsula, quite as 
much as did the councils with more general names. Except 
for Navarre, which continued to be a viceroyalty, the other 
regions of Spain apart from New Castile (Aragon, Catalonia, 
Valencia, Majorca, Granada, Andalusia, Old Castile, Galicia, 
Asturias, Extremadura, and the Canary Islands) were placed 
under captain-generals or commandant-generals with mili 
tary and administrative powers. A number of audiencias 
were added, until now there were eleven such bodies (Valla- 
dolid, Granada, Galicia, Seville, the Canaries, Majorca, 
Valencia, Saragossa, Barcelona, Asturias, and Extremadura), 
exercising both civil and judicial functions. In 1718 the 
institution of the intendancies was created to take over 



royal con 
trol over 
the towns 
and the 
zation of 

financial administration in the various regions, although 
this reform was not put into effect definitely until 1749. 
There were twenty-three intendants, of whom six were mili 
tary. Under the captain-generals there were smaller dis 
tricts ruled by corregidores, most of whom were civilians. 
The judicial functions of the corregidor were gradually 
taken over by alcaldes mayores, who ranked under the cone- 
gidores, leaving the executive power in the hands of the 
latter. In some cases these lesser districts were ruled over 
by officials called military governors. The term "province" 
was applied to districts of very unequal size. While there 
were only eight in the combined realms of Aragon, Navarre, 
and the Basque provinces, there were twenty-four in Castile. 
Charles III planned to divide Spain into a number of prov 
inces of about the same size, but did not carry out his idea. 
While municipal life as a virile factor which might with 
stand the king had long since been dead, there was too much 
local authority still in existence to please the autocratic 
Bourbons. Furthermore, abuses in administration had 
developed which caused the kings to be philanthropically 
desirous of a remedy. To accomplish these ends they aimed 
at a more complete subjection of the towns to the royal 
authority and the democratization of the ayuntamientos. 
The principal difficulty in the way of these objectives was 
the fact that many municipal offices were held as a perpetual 
right by specific families, especially in the case of the regidores, 
for which state of affairs the kings of the House of Austria 
had not infrequently been responsible by their sales of such 
privileges. This resulted in an aristocratic control of the 
municipalities, with consequent usurpations of land by the 
rich and the placing of the burdens of taxation on the poor. 
Unable to buy up these hereditary rights the royal govern 
ment chose to follow what was in effect a policy of legal con 
fiscation. This was easily accomplished for Aragon, Cata 
lonia, Valencia, and Majorca; as already pointed out, the 
king took advantage of the outcome of the War of the 
Spanish Succession to take all of these appointments into 
Ms own hands or into those of the audiencias. As for Castile, 
laws were passed requiring the approval of the central au- 


thorities before an heir to municipal office could succeed to 
such an inheritance. As a result the government was 
enabled to refuse its assent in a number of cases. Mean 
while, the alcaldes continued to be appointed by the king 
or by the lord, according as they were royal (realengos) or 
seigniorial (senonos) towns. Even the seigniorial towns 
were attacked, for a law of 1802 provided with regard to 
them that the servants or dependents of the lord could not 
exercise jurisdiction in his place ; that the royal institution 
of the residencia was never to be dispensed with ; and that 
the alcaldes mayores of the large towns must be lawyers who 
had been licensed to practice by the royal consejos or au- 
diencias. No attempt was made to disturb the composition 
of the ayuntamientos of Navarre and the Basque provinces, 
although these regions, like the rest of Spain, were subject 
to laws of a general character concerning municipalities. 
One such general law, in 1751, required all municipalities to 
send their accounts annually to the Cdmara de Castilla for 
inspection, and this was supplemented by a law of 1764, 
ordering them to deposit their surplus funds with the royal 
intendant of the province. Another decree, dated 1760, 
assigned the direction of municipal finance to the Comejo* 
Yet other laws were enacted, the total effect of which, to 
gether with those just mentioned, was to place the whole 
question of municipal income and expenditures in royal 
hands. The initiative for the democratization of the 
ayuntamientos came in the reign of Charles III. In 1766 
he created the post of deputy of the common people (dipidado 
del comitTi), which official was empowered to examine the 
financial accounts of the towns. These officers, of whom 
there were to be two in the smaller towns and four in the 
larger, were chosen by a body of men who had previously 
been elected by the people. In like manner a popular 
syndic (sindico) was elected who represented the masses 
before the ayuntamiento, with a right to take part in de 
liberations and to propose reforms. At the same time, the 
office of regidor was thrown open to plebeians. This law 
was a blow at the caballero class of the nobility, which 
had monopolized the holding of municipal office. There was 



of the first 
half cen 
tury of 

much dissatisfaction over the enactment, and the Basque 
provinces went so far as to protest. Nevertheless, there was 
no outward resistance ; the aristocracy of the towns limited 
itself to opposing the election of plebeians and to hindering 
their action in office. 

Despite the thoroughgoing nature of the Bourbon ab 
solutism, it is fitting for the first time to award special credit 
to the secretaries of state, or ministers, although the kings 
were responsible for their selection as well as for their acts. 
This was an age of great reformers. The initiative came from 
France on the accession of Philip V, and the first great name is 
that of a Frenchman, Ony. When he came to Spain, in 1701, 
he found that the income of the state was about 142,000,000 
redes ($8,875,000) while expenditures were 247,000,000 
($15,437,500). The outbreak of the War of the Spanish 
Succession made the situation still worse. Yet he displayed 
such ability that national receipts actually advanced hi 
course of the war, and were some 160,000,000 ($10,000,000) 
at its end. Amelot, another Frenchman, was an even more 
remarkable figure. He cooperated with Orry to increase 
the revenues, and reorganized and bettered the adminis 
tration of the army. The Italian Alberoni and the Dutch 
man Ripperda were less notable as reformers. With the 
fall of the latter in 1726 there began an era of great ministers 
of Spanish birth. First of these was Patino, who, though 
born in Italy, was of a Galician family. He was especially 
prominent for his financial reforms, but was also noteworthy 
for his measures to develop commerce and improve the army 
and navy. In an age when graft was general, and in a 
country which has rarely been backward in this particular, 
Patino was able to achieve the distinction of dying poor; 
his death occurred in 1736. The next notable financial 
reformer was Campillo, an Asturian who had been born 
poor, though of hidalgo rank. More important, however, 
was Somodevilla, a Castilian of very humble birth who be 
came Marquis of Ensenada, by which name he is more 
generally known. The period of his power was from 1743 
to 1754, and his reforms covered the same matters as those 
mentioned above in the case of Patino, although he was 


especially remarkable in his endeavors on behalf of the Span 
ish navy. His fall in 1754 (as a result of his disagreement 
with Ferdinand VI with regard to the treaty with Portugal 
concerning Sacramento and Paraguay) was received with 
rejoicing in England; the English ambassador reported 
exultingly that Spain would build no more ships, Ensenada 
was responsible, also, for the construction of important 
public works, and once suggested the idea of single tax as 
worthy of trial in Spain. 

The greatest reformers, however, belonged to the reign Great re- 
of Charles III and the early years of Charles IV. Earlier formers of 
ministers had increased the national revenues and cut down *^jf lg ? s 
expenses, but the deficit had not been wiped out. One of niand 
the great names of both of the above-named reigns was that iy. 
of the Count of Aranda, of a distinguished Aragonese noble 
family. Aranda was obstinate, brutal in speech, aggressive, 
and energetic, but a man of vast information and clear 
foresight, as witness his prediction, in 1775, of the future 
greatness of the yet unborn United States. Aside from his 
connection with Spain s foreign policies he particularly 
distinguished himself while president of the Consejo de 
Castillo, by the reforms, already referred to, whereby Madrid 
became a clean and acceptable city. Yet more famous was 
Jose Monino, son of an ecclesiastical notary of Murcia, 
who was ennobled as the Count of Floridablanca. An 
honorable man in every sense of the word, just, intelligent, 
and solicitous for his friends, he was hot-tempered, and 
unbending in his hostility to his opponents. His action 
made itself felt in the improvement of the means of commu 
nication in the peninsula and in his economic reforms of a 
commercial nature, such as the great free trade decree of 1778, 
which abandoned certain phases of the narrowly monopo 
listic policy which Spain had always followed in her trade 
with the colonies. Campomanes was an Asturian and, like 
Somodevilla, of very humble birth, but he rose to be, many 
hold, the greatest of the men who labored for the social and 
economic regeneration of Spain in the eighteenth century. 
He was also the most representative of his age, for, in addi 
tion to his measures to develop a better system of internal 


communications and to foster industry, commerce, and 
technical popular education, he was a determined royalist, 
the embodiment, therefore, of the ideal of the enlightened 
despotism. Like Aranda and Floridablanca he served for 
a time under Charles IV, although his greatest work belonged 
to the reign of Charles III. Three names deserve mention 
for the reign of Charles IV. Jovellanos was an Asturian 
of an illustrious family. He distinguished himself by his 
reforms in finance in conjunction with one Saavedra, but 
both were early deprived of their posts, as a result of the 
hostility of Godoy. The third name is that of Godoy, who 
introduced notable reforms in public instruction and in the 
organization of the army and navy, whatever may be 
the judgment with regard to his foreign policy. The names 
of some of the great ministers of the Indies are also worthy 
of record. In addition to Patino and Ensenada the most 
noteworthy were Julian de Arriaga (1750 or 1751-1776) 
and Jos6 de Galvez (1776-1787), especially the former. 
The results, in terms of revenue, of the activities of the 
great ministers may serve to give some indication of the 
effectiveness of their work. In 1766, receipts exceeded ex 
penditures by about 133,000,000 reales (58,312,500). In 
1778 revenues amounted to 630,000,000 (39,375,000) ; in 
1784 to 685,000,000 ($42,812,500) ; and in 1787 to 616,000,000 
($38,500,000). Though annual expenditures were much 
less, the government was never able to overcome the deficit, 
although the national debt reached its lowest point in the 
reign of Charles III. In 1791 revenues were some 800,000,000 
($50,000,000), but they fell to a general level of about 
600,000,000 ($37,500,000) in the years 1793 to 1795, while 
expenditures, which had reached "708,000,000 ($44,250,000) 
in 1793, ^ were 1,030,000,000 ($64,375,000) in 1795. Thus 
the deficit began to increase again, and in 1808 it was over 
7,200,000,000 redes ($450,000,000), an enormous sum as 
national indebtedness went then. 

Opposition The efforts made by the great reformers appear the more 
of vested commendable when one considers the difficulties they had 
to the ^ over come. Great changes always run counter to vested 
reforms. interests, but this was more than usually the case in Spain. 


The nobles and the church were the most powerful elements 
in opposition; even though their authority was but little, 
as compared with that of earlier years, they were still able 
to hinder the execution of laws which damaged their interests. 
Nearly everyone seemed to have an exemption from taxation, 
or desired it, but the reformers set themselves resolutely 
against that state of affairs. Their success against the force of 
vested interests was only fair, for that element was too great 
to overcome ; the very bureaucracy itself displayed a weak 
ness in this particular, for it insisted on the maintenance of 
a custom which had sprung up that government officials 
might buy certain articles at a fixed price, whatever the 
charge to others. This calls to mind the overwhelming Prevalence 
evil of graft, which it seemed impossible to eliminate; in- of graft. 
deed, high officials were altogether too prone to regard it as 
a more or less legitimate perquisite, and did not hesitate to 
accept large gifts of money from foreign diplomats. Diffi- Difficulties 
culties over questions of etiquette, inherent in a centralized over ques- 
bureaucratic government, also stood in the way of the proper ti ? ns of 
execution of the laws. For example, a serious dispute arose ^nd ojf ^ 
in 1745 between the bishop of Murcia and the Inquisition, juns- 
when the latter claimed that the members of that body diction, 
should have a better place in church than others. It was at 
length decided that they should not. In 1782 the com 
mandant-general of Majorca complained that the wives of 
the oidores of the audiencia had not called on his wife on the 
occasion of the king s birthday. He was sustained, and the 
regente (regent, or president) of the audiencia was imprisoned 
for a number of months by way of punishment. Several 
years later the ladies of Palma complained that the wife of 
the commandant-general was in the habit of going out in 
the street with an armed escort and demanding a military 
salute. This time the ladies were upheld, and the escort 
was prohibited. These are only a few instances out of 
thousands, and if there was so much stir over such trifling 
matters it can well be imagined how much more serious the 
problem was in the case of disputes between officials as to 
jurisdiction. Official etiquette is an important matter in all 
countries, but Spaniards have always been insistent on the 



ment of 
the army 
and in 
at addi 

letter of their rights and very sensitive over the omission of 
any act to which their position entitles them. Furthermore, 
these controversies carried in their train vast files of papers, 
of charges, answers and countercharges, and the evidence 
of witnesses. These questions had to be resolved, causing 
great expenditure in both time and money. No country 
was ever more diligent than Spain in the multiplication of 
state papers over affairs which ranged from those of vital 
importance to the most trivial incidents. The historian 
may have cause to rejoice over the existence of so much 
material, but the nation suffered, although it is difficult 
to see how its contemporary accumulation could have been 
avoided in an absolutism like that of the Spanish Bourbons. 
One of the principal objects of the reforms was the re 
habilitation of the army and navy so that Spain might be 
in a better position in international affairs. In the army 
the volunteer system was employed for a while, but it was 
effective only in procuring contingents of foreign mercenaries 
and in filling the ranks of the royal guard. Gradually the 
idea of the draft came into favor, and it was tried several 
times, becoming a definitive law in the reign of Charles III. 
The law of Charles III provided that one man in every five 
hence the term quinta for this institution should be 
come subject to military service for a term of eight years. 
This system was resisted in all parts of the peninsula, but 
was allowed to stand, although it proved impossible of en 
forcement. Through graft or favor, whether of the local 
officials charged with administering the law or of doctors 
who examined the individual drawn, practically nobody 
was required to serve except those totally lacking in influ 
ence. It was customary to seize tramps and petty criminals 
and send them instead of the legitimately drafted men. The 
government itself adopted the principle of forced levies, or 
impressment, of vagabonds and bad characters, but these 
men proved to be poor soldiers and deserted frequently. 
Thus the number of troops was not great, but in any event 
it would have been difficult to support more numerous con 
tingents, owing to the lack of funds ; even as matters were 
it was customary to grant a four months furlough at the 


season when crops were gathered. In times of war, rigorous 
methods were used to get the needed men, or else they came 
forward voluntarily, out of patriotism. The reserve was 
formed by regional bodies of militia, which did not draw 
back when their services were needed in war. At the be 
ginning of the era it is said that there were 20,000 poorly 
equipped soldiers in the Spanish army; in 1737 the total of 
infantry and cavalry was 42,920; in 1758 the total of all 
arms, 108,777. Numbers increased under Charles III, but 
declined under Charles IV. In 1808, at the moment of the 
outbreak against Napoleon, there were from 136,000 to 
147,000 but only about 100,000 effective troops, and even 
these were badly armed. The situation becomes clear in 
the light of the expense involved; the army of 1758, in a 
time of peace, cost some 205,000,000 redes ($12,812,500), 
a saving of 34,000,000 ($2,125,000) over the expenditures 
required prior to the enactment of certain reforms by 
Ferdinand VI. It will be seen that a considerable portion 
of the annual revenue was needed. In this period the hier 
archy of officials (from the captain-generals down through 
the various grades of generals, colonels, captains, and lieu 
tenants) and of military units (such as brigades, regiments, 
battalions, and companies) was established in, broadly 
speaking, the form it has retained ever since. The gun with 
the bayonet had now become the principal infantry weapon, 
and artillery had been developed to a high point as compared 
with the previous era. Flags and uniforms varied; the 
latter were picturesque, but adapted more to encouraging 
the soldier s morale than to developing his freedom of action. 
A number of military schools were founded for the different 
branches of the service, the infantry, cavalry, artillery, 
and engineers. 

The eighteenth century marked the birth of a real Spanish Birth of a 
navy. At the outset, and during the great war which opened real 
the era, there was virtually none at all, but in 1714 Orry took 
steps, which were later furthered by Alberoni, Patino, and 
especially by Ensenada, to develop an effective fleet. In attending 
1761 there were 49 men-of-war (natios), 22 frigates, and a itsim- 
number of smaller ships; m 1788, 64 men-of-war, 53 frigates, Pavement, 


and 60 boats of other types, with 50,000 sailors, 20,000 in- 
fantry, 3000 artillerymen, and numerous officials of the 
navy department. Each war with England during the cen 
tury resulted in the destruction of a considerable portion of 
the" fleet, and the battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, destroyed it 
as a fighting unit, even though Spain still had 42 men-of-war, 
30 frigates, and 146 other ships in 1806. The man-of-war 
was the principal type of vessel employed in this era, carry 
ing from sixty to a hundred cannon, while the faster sailing 
frigate had from thirty to fifty cannon. Many auxiliary 
vessels transports and smaller fighting ships, such as 
brigs and sloops of war were used. The galley went out 
of service, although one was built as late as 1794. The 
Spanish navy suffered from a number of defects, however, 
which made it distinctly inferior to the English, or even to 
the French. The wood for the masts was fragile and the 
material for the sails was of bad quality, while boats were so 
poorly taken care of, that they deteriorated rapidly. The 
provision of food supplies and effects for the men was faulty, 
and the men on board, especially the artillerymen and the 
infantry, were of very poor calibre. Ensenada remarked 
that the Spanish navy of his day was all appearances, with 
out substance, but set about to the best of his ability to 
rectify the situation. He improved shipyards, sent officers 
of talent abroad to study the methods employed elsewhere, 
gave inducements to English shipbuilders to come to Spain, 
built shops for the making of rigging and other equipment 
needed on ships of war, endeavored to improve the personnel 
of Spanish crews, and surrounded himself with the most 
competent naval men he could find. Ensenada and the other 
reformers did a great deal, but they could not overcome the 
never-ending difficulties in the way of obtaining men in 
sufficient numbers and of suitable quality for the require 
ments of the navy. The fishermen of the Spanish coasts 
continued to be drafted as sailors, and became less unwilling 
to serve than formerly when efforts were made to be punctual 
in payments of wages and to protect the families of the 
mariners. The recruiting of marine infantry and artillery 
men, however, suffered from the same evil as the raising 


of the land forces, with one Important result, which was 
that Spanish cannon were badly served. 

Naturally, a period so rich in reforms as this was bound to Legisla- 
have a great body of legislation. In Castile this was almost tion f til 
exclusively in the various forms of royal orders, recording f a ^J l , 
the directions given by the king and his ministers, and the ^ m ^ Re _ 
decisions of the Consejos. Thus the work of the Nueva copilacidn. 
Recopilacidn of 1567 got to be out of date, although five new 
editions were published in the eighteenth century, with the 
addition of some of the recent laws. Finally, a proposal 
for another codification was approved, and the compilation 
was made by Juan de la Reguera, who brought it out in 
twelve books, under the title of the Nocfaima recopilacidn 
de las leyes de Espana (Newest, or Latest, Compilation of 
the Laws of Spain). Reguera claimed to have solved the 
problem of the concentration of legal material, but in fact 
his work suffered from the same defects as the earlier codes 
of Montalvo and Arrieta. His distribution of the laws was 
faulty, and he failed to indicate many important acts which 
were still in force. Furthermore, he reproduced the ordi 
nance of Alcala (1348), repeated in the laws of Toro and the 
Nueca Recopilacidn, according to which the laws of various 
earlier codes, such as the Fuero Real, remained in effect in 
so far as they had not been repealed by later legislation, and 
the Partidas was valid. as supplementary law. Thus the 
old evils of the lack of unity of the law and lack of clearness 
subsisted. Nobody could be certain whether a law was still 
in effect or not, and it remained the practice to cite text 
books and the ancient codes of Justinian on the ground that 
they might have a bearing as supplementary law, unless 
there was something clearly stated to the contrary in the 
Nomsima Recopilacidn. In Catalonia there was a new codi 
fication in 1704, and in Navarre in 1735. In most of the 
formerly separate legal jurisdictions, however, the laws of 
Castile applied, henceforth, as a result of the changes brought 
about, as already mentioned, at the close of the War of the 
Spanish Succession. 

It remains to deal with the relations of the crown and the 
church, to which the next chapter is devoted, and to allude 



in the 
and their 

to the important reforms in the Americas. Much that was 
beneficial to the colonies at the time was achieved, and much 
else which in fact helped them to be the better prepared in 
the approaching combat with the mother country. In the 
main, however, the policies of subjection and of the develop 
ment of the revenues in the supposed interests of Spain were 
followed, with the result that resentments were kept alive 
and ultimate disaster invited. 


STATE AND CHURCH, 1700-1808 

IF the kings of the House of Austria had displayed zeal in Pro- 
diminishing the range of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the Bour- nounced 

bon monarchs, with their accentuated ideal of absolutism, ^ a ^^ i ^ Q 
.... ,1 , , rpi , . Bourbons 

were even more insistent m that respect. The kings were i n sub- 
assisted by elements to which they themselves were other- jecting the 
wise hostile, such as the Jansenists 1 and the encyclopedists, church, 
whose partisans furnished arguments for the royal authority, 
because they opposed the rule of the church. Nevertheless, 
the monarchical ideal of the kings was sufficient to induce 
them to attack the church, except as concerned the purely 
spiritual interests of the Catholic religion, and the absolute 
patronage which the kings enjoyed in the Americas became 
the model of what they wished to establish in Spain. There The ele- 
were two principal angles to the problem, that of overcoming xaentsm 
the intervention of the popes in the affairs of the Spanish contro- 
church, and that of lessening the power and the privileges 
of the Spanish clergy. As for the intervention of the popes, 
they exercised the right of appointment to Spanish benefices 
which became vacant in any of the so-called eight " apostolic 
months," and also to those vacated in the four "ordinary 
months" (March, June, September, and December) if the 
death of the holder occurred at Rome ; considerable sums of 
money were also collected for papal dispensations to marry, 

1 The Jansenists were a sect within the Catholic Church follow 
ing the teachings of Cornells Jansen (1585-1638), who relied upon 
the tenets of Saint Augustine as the basis for a reform of the church. 
They were opposed to the doctrine of papal infallibility, and were 
bitter enemies of the Jesuits, besides differing from other Catholics 
in certain points of dogma. Their views were eventually pro 
nounced heretical. 




of the 
kings with, 
the popes 
in the first 
half cen 
tury of 
the era. 

papal pardons, and other papal acts of an irregularly re 
curring character, although government officials charged 
that a large part of these moneys remained in the hands of 
Spanish and Italian intermediaries without reaching the 
coffers of the pope ; the tribunal of the nunciature, despite 
the provisions of the papal brief of 1537, had come to be com 
posed of foreign priests, and besides exercising its judicial 
functions independently of the royal courts administered 
the rents of vacant benefices (cacantes) , which gave rise to 
accusations of abuses in the management of the funds ; the 
tribunal of the Cruzada, for the collection of the tax of that 
name, was still in papal hands, although the income had fre 
quently in the past been granted to the kings of Spain ; and 
finally, there existed the old question of the pose regie, about 
the necessity for royal consent prior to the publication of 
papal bulls and briefs, or in fact even for the delivery of 
pontifical letters. As concerned the relations with the local 
clergy, the kings were preoccupied with such matters as the 
great numbers of churchmen (especially the regular clergy), 
the immunities they enjoyed, the immensity of their